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North Carolina Immigrant Leaders and Allies Condemn Anti-Immigrant Bill HB 100

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Today leaders from the statewide Faith Action ID Network gathered on a press call to discuss the consequences of anti-immigrant bill HB 100. If passed this week in the State Legislature, HB 100 will undermine the local ID program, a vital tool for law enforcement and the immigrant community in many counties and major cities across North Carolina.

David Fraccaro, Executive Director, Faith Action International House said, “There’s a saying I’m fond of, an ID is just a piece of plastic until a human being gives it a face and story and the community gives it integrity and value. I’m proud to work on this issue with folks who have done just that in their own communities. It’s amazing to see the power a simple piece of plastic can have to bring dignity to people’s lives. And it’s not just immigrants, it’s also North Carolina citizens, the homeless, the elderly, and low income families. This ID is simply a tool that law enforcement, schools, health centers, businesses can use to better serve and protect our diverse community. These days you can’t open a newspaper without seeing bad news about immigration and bad news about police minority relationship and in North Carolina we’ve managed to tell a different story, one that is moving in a positive direction. This program works and leads to safer and more inclusive communities. It’s something we should be proud of, not something we should be shutting down.”

Said Sherriff William Schatzman, of Forsythe County, “Good law enforcement is knowing the communities you are responsible for protecting. These faith based ID cards are a vehicle by which we learn about our immigrant communities and they really help us do our jobs. They help us protect and serve those who are we are sworn to. They certainly make our communities more inclusive and our jobs much easier. Is it the answer to all of law enforcement initiatives? No, but this partnership is a great first step. The bridge from the law enforcement community to the immigrant community is built with these IDs. From what I’ve seen, it’s clear to me that it’s a good starting point that should not be repealed. Certainly immigration policy needs to be addressed at a federal level, but that is not for local law enforcement to do that’s for Washington. What we’re in the business of doing is protecting people and these faith ID cards are a positive step in the right direction.”

Said Mayra Ramirez of La Misión in Robbins, “In a 54% Hispanic town like Robbins, the faith IDs are vital. We have been working to build the trust between the community and law enforcement for years.  These IDs finally allow law enforcement to engage with the community, the immigrant community in particular. The first town meeting after the IDs were enacted you could finally see the population that truly lived in the town and it was a beautiful thing. We have come so far. Why would you want to burn down bridges just as they’re being built? It is truly blissful to see the relationships blossoming in our community, to ruin that dynamic is just a big mistake. We’ve come so far, we shouldn’t turn around now.”

Added Pablo Miranda from Asheboro Unidos, “For the past year the community has finally been able to come out of the shadows. Before the Faith IDs there was a fear to go to the health department, go outdoors. After these IDs came into play, you could sense the feeling of safety in the community and we’ve heard from law enforcement how excited they were to finally, after so many years, connect with the Latino community. This legislation puts that all in jeopardy. I will say this, if HB100 passes, we will be focusing on the Latino vote and letting people know that elections and votes matter precisely for times like these. To see our community coming together has been extremely hopeful, and the fight for the community will continue no matter the fate of the legislation.”

Bruno Guatemala Montgomery Unidos said, “In Montgomery County, we are seeing a transformation because of our work with the Faith Action ID. Over 350 people from the immigrant community turned out for a forum on May 4 with our Sheriff and law enforcement, as well as officials from the health and education system. This was the first time something like this has happened and we will fight to keep moving forward and not let a hateful and divisive bill like HB 100 drive a wedge in our community.”

Pilar Rocha-GoldbergPresident and CEO, El Centro Hispano, Inc. said, “These IDs are so valuable because they have allowed us to truly build our communities and have really strengthened the relationship between law enforcement and the community. This relationship is vital to the strength of cities and counties throughout our state. It’s very clear that the supporters of HB100 are not considering all the facts and the benefits of the program they are aiming to repeal”

Added Carmen Rodriguez Gum of Sí a Las Licencias, “HB 100 is a terrible attack on a vulnerable population and it defies logic because the ID program is seen as a vital tool by law enforcement across the state. We will continue to educate our community on the Republican’s anti-immigrant agenda and make sure Latinos turn out to vote in November.”

Said Dulce Ortiz the Latino Outreach Coordinator at Faith Action International House,“The Faith ID has given the immigrant community a sense of dignity and HB100 will significantly damage the bridges of trust that law enforcement has built with our community.”

Added Reverend Dr. Gary Gunderson of Faith Action ID Network in Winston Salem, “Being able to establish a person’s identity quickly and reliably not only protects the personal safety of front line personnel but allows these brave men and women to perform their jobs effectively (to protect and to serve) and to reduce medical errors by allowing quick access to correct patient files. Faith Action ID cards also allow medical personnel to obtain correct billing addresses, thereby improving the revenue cycle for health care institutions.”

Said Tim Eakins, Director of North Carolina’s Voice, “The communities that use these IDs and the law enforcement that depend on them will be fighting and calling Raleigh until the last minute of the legislative session to oppose this legislation and make sure the Faith Action ID program that so many communities rely on are permitted to continue. The political moment here in North Carolina is very reflective of what we’re seeing at the national level and it’s important to remember that we have Donald Trumps at the state level too. This is the time when our community needs to stand up and fight back against the divisiveness inherent in this type of legislation. That means making sure that every person eligible to vote has a plan to vote November so we can defeat the Party of Trump at the state and national level.”