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North Carolina GOP Doubles Down On Discrimination With New Anti-Immigrant Bill, SB 868

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In the midst of national outcry over HB2, NC GOP continues to legislate discrimination

On Tuesday, May 10, the North Carolina GOP doubled down on discrimination by introducing anti-immigrant Senate Bill 868, which would withhold state funding from any municipality that accepts local identification cards. The sole intent of this bill is to attack undocumented immigrants in North Carolina and fracture the trust that has been built between local law enforcement and the immigrant community.

This new anti-immigrant bill would have a direct impact across the state. Currently in North Carolina, six counties and many major cities, including Winston Salem, Greensboro, Burlington, Asheboro, and Durham, use a local ID to facilitate communication between the immigrant community and law enforcement, as well as hospitals and health centers. The local id is the primary tool by which police officers identify all residents and build trust with the immigrant community, so that undocumented immigrants feel safe reporting crimes and calling for help.

In the absence of federal legislation to reform our immigration system, local IDs have been a vital tool to promote both the health and safety for all residents.

According to Mayra Sanchez, an undocumented resident of Moore County, “After decades of living in the shadows, I was able to get a local ID several months ago. The ID makes me feel safe, allows me to be a part of my community, and reassures me that if I have an emergency, I can call 911 and that our police department is there to help.”

In an historic address from Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a native of North Carolina, on Monday, May 9 regarding HB2, Lynch stated, “Instead of turning away from our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, let us instead learn from our history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our past.  Let us reflect on the obvious but often neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good in hindsight.”

Surely, the same can be said of this renewed effort to terrorize the immigrant community here in North Carolina.

Said Tim Eakins, Director of North Carolina’s Voice, “The immigrant community in North Carolina has had just about enough of our state legislature playing politics and legislating discrimination. Come November these same politicians will be held accountable at the ballot box–by the Latino and immigrant community that is tired of being a target. It’s time for North Carolinians of all walks of life to reject these hateful measures and affirm that all residents, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, gender identity, or sex, are welcome here.”