From the office of Speak Pro Tem Rep. Paul Stam:
1) 300,000 – 400,000 North Carolinians are victims of identity theft each year. Counterfeiting of documents for identification wreaks havoc on lives, destroys credit and reputations, making it difficult for victims to get credit, jobs or entitlements. Victims spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours trying to rectify the damage done.
Criminals use stolen identities to open credit card accounts and make purchases under someone else’s name. Undocumented individuals can use counterfeit documents to establish an identity to gain employment, rent property, open bank accounts and obtain licenses to drive and insurance for their vehicles.
Remarkably, it is only a Class 2 misdemeanor to manufacture and/or sell counterfeit documents. HB 328 will elevate this crime to a Class G felony.
2) There is a criminal element engaged in human trafficking, drug trafficking, sex crimes, violent felonies and gang offenses.
- HB 328 presumes NO BAIL for undocumented individuals charged with these types of crimes.
- Undocumented individuals charged with lesser crimes will post SECURED BAIL
3) In Winston-Salem C.H.A.N.G.E. (Communities Helping All Neighbors GainEmpowerment) has issued 7,000 identification cards to undocumented individuals. Greensboro’s Faith House has issued more than 1,750 identification cards. Durham police recognize the Mexican Matricula Consulate card as an official id. The city of Charlotte is creating a “municipal identification card” for undocumented individuals.
- A proliferation of pseudo identification cards for undocumented individuals creates a dangerous threat to our citizens. It makes law enforcement more dangerous.
- Without the means or authority to investigate the individual’s background or identity these cards give the illusion of legitimacy to individuals who may be engaged in criminal activity.
HB 328 prohibits law enforcement and every state and local governmental entity from accepting any such cards as a form of identification.
4) Approximately 350,000 undocumented individuals live in North Carolina. Many of these do not fall under the qualifications the Obama administration has set for deportation. They are living under “de facto amnesty”.
HB 328 makes “de facto amnesty” much harder and helps separate the criminal element from those whose only offense is their presence. It creates a RESTRICTED NC ID that requires an undocumented individual to provide, and pay for:
1) Proof of identity
2) Proof of residency
4) State & federal criminal background check
To obtain a Restricted Driving Permit (valid for only 1 year) the individual must also provide:
5) Proof of liability insurance – if insurance coverage is dropped there is no refund
6) Pass the NC DMV written, physical and eye exams
Neither document changes the status of the undocumented individual.
The cardholder is still illegally present and subject to possible deportation
Each card will state: “NO LEGAL PRESENCE” “NO LEGAL STATUS”
Cards CAN NOT be used to register to vote or to enroll in state entitlement programs.
Cards do not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act and
CAN NOT be used to gain access to federal buildings or to board airplanes.
5) HB 328 mandates that undocumented individuals caught driving without a Restricted Driving Permit will be arrested, their vehicle confiscated and sold. Bond to get out of jail must be a secured bond.
6) HB 328 establishes identities and creates a statewide database for law enforcement.
This bill has passed the House Judiciary 1 Committee and the House Finance Committee.
It is supported by the NC Association of Chiefs of Police. It is primarily a law enforcement bill.
In summary HB 328
1) Discourages further illegal immigration into North Carolina
- a) Increases punishment of criminal activity
- b) Enhances bail requirements
- c) Provides for vehicle confiscation
2) Establishes accountability by determining identities through a Restricted Driver Permit (paid for by the applicant)
- a) Proof of identity,
- b) Fingerprinting
- c) Background checks
- d) Proof of residency
- e) Proof of insurance
- f) DMV tests
3) It will improve public safety
- a) Must demonstrate ability to drive,
- b) Must demonstrate knowledge of the rules of the road
- c) Must have nonrefundable liability insurance
- d) When law enforcement is investigating traffic accidents or violations, the identity of those who have the permit will be known.
4) Creates a statewide data base for law enforcement, including
- a) Fingerprints
- b) Background checks
5) Makes a strong impact on the negative aspects of illegal immigration in NC without invoking a federal lawsuit or damaging the NC economy.