McCrory Signs Protect NC Workers Act into Law, Liberal Groups Call it ‘Anti-Immigration’ Bill

Published Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 5:05 pm
Gov. Pat McCrory signed the "Protect North Carolina Workers Act" in Greensboro on Thursday.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed the “Protect North Carolina Workers Act” in Greensboro on Thursday.

Compiled by Jesse Wood

N.C. Governor Pat McCrory signed into law House Bill 318, the Protect N.C. Workers Act, which would end “sanctuary cities” in the state. While McCrory and conservatives touted the bill as prohibiting cities and counties from passing laws restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law, left-leaning groups such as the ACLU-NC and N.C. Justice Center called HB 318 an “anti-immigration” bill.

Check out the responses below:

Release from Gov. Pat McCrory’s Office:

Governor Pat McCrory signed the Protect North Carolina Workers Act (HB 318) into law today in the presence of a bipartisan group of sheriffs, community leaders and members of his Advisory Council on Hispanic and Latino Affairs. This legislation outlaws sanctuary cities, or cities with policies to limit law enforcement and other government employee assistance with federal immigration matters.

“Today, North Carolina is standing up for the rule of law, which is central to North Carolina values and our country’s values,” said Governor McCrory. “Public safety officials must have the flexibility and tools to investigate crimes and sanctuary city policies deprive law enforcement of those tools.”

The Protect NC Workers Act ends the adoption of sanctuary city ordinances in North Carolina by prohibiting any city or county from having in effect any policy, ordinance, or procedure that would restrict the enforcement of federal immigration law.

“When I go to other countries I go legally and adhere to the laws,” said Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes who hosted the governor at the county’s sheriff’s office. “Can we not, as the greatest nation in the world, expect others to do the same?”

The legislation also forbids the use of consulate documents to determine a person’s identity or residency for government and law enforcement purposes. Consulate documents can be unreliable and are vulnerable to fraud or forgery.

Another provision in the Protect NC Workers Act requires any company that does business with a public entity in North Carolina to ensure their employees are in this country legally through the federal E-Verify program.

HB 318 will also emphasize the value of work by requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week, participate in qualifying education and training activities, or comply with a workfare program to be eligible for food and nutrition benefits.

NCGOP Statement on Governor McCrory Signing Bill to End Sanctuary Cities

The North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP) today released the following statement following Governor McCrory signing HB 318 into law, ending sanctuary cities in North Carolina:

“We thank Governor McCrory for not caving to pressure from the liberal attack machine and even Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and ending sanctuary cities in North Carolina because it’s the right thing to do. Even President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary agrees that sanctuary city policies are unacceptable and counterproductive to public safety. Despite pro-illegal immigration advocates spin, this bill will improve public safety by allowing every law enforcement officer to do their job and enforce our laws, including our immigration laws.” – Hasan Harnett, NCGOP Chairman.

ACLU-NC: Gov. McCrory Signs Anti-Immigrant HB 318

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory today signed into law HB 318, which prohibits local governments from adopting so-called “sanctuary” ordinances limiting enforcement of federal immigration law, prohibits some government officials from accepting various forms of ID cards, and expands the use of E-verify.

“By making it harder for people to identify themselves to government officials, discouraging undocumented people from reporting crime, and banning local governments from passing measures aimed at improving public safety, this law makes all North Carolinians less safe,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Immigrants play important roles in our communities and economy. Laws like this encourage discrimination, send the message that North Carolina is unwelcoming, and make it harder for law enforcement officers to do their job keeping all members of the community safe.”

HB 318 prohibits government officials, with the exception of law enforcement officers in some cases, from accepting certain documents, such as matricula consular documents and municipal IDs, to determine a person’s actual identity or residency. It also prohibits local governments from adopting so-called “sanctuary” ordinances that limit the enforcement of federal immigration laws, and invalidates those that currently exist in North Carolina. Among the local policies the law invalidates are those designed to encourage witnesses and victims of crime to contact and cooperate with law enforcement officers.

Read the ACLU’s fact sheet explaining the impact of HB 318 here http://www.acluofnc.org/files/legislative/HB_318_Fact_Sheet_10052015.pdf

N.C. Justice Center: Groups Reject Governor’s Signing of HB 318

Officials from the city of Greensboro, immigrant rights organizations from across the state, and groups representing low-income residents are gathering at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum on Wednesday, Oct. 28 to oppose HB 318. The groups have heard that the governor plans to sign the bill on the same day in Greensboro.

HB 318 limits a municipality’s flexibility in identifying residents as it chooses. This could have a significant impact on North Carolina’s immigrant residents, many of whom do not have access to state issued identification, as well as other individuals who have difficulty obtaining ID, including senior citizens and people dealing with homelessness. Collaborating with the police department and many other city agencies in Greensboro and Burlington, the FaithAction ID program has successfully addressed concerns associated with not having a state ID over the last two years. However, advocates fear that restricting government officials from accepting certain forms of ID could lead to discrimination, profiling, and could limit access to services for our community’s most vulnerable residents.

In addition, this bill also limits federal food assistance for childless adults working less than 20 hours per week, despite the fact that in North Carolina, 83 counties have more jobless workers than job openings.

“Even while our NC General Assembly and our Governor demonstrate a callous regard for marginalized populations, we pledge to stand alongside immigrants and SNAP recipients to ensure that everyone is able to fully participate in our community,” said Lori Fernald Khamala of the American Friends Service Committee.

The City of Greensboro has staunchly opposed this bill. The City Council voted 8-1 to oppose it, the Human Relations Commission voted unanimously to oppose it, the News & Record came out in opposition, and the Greensboro Police Department has spoken out against it. Yet on Wednesday, October 28, Governor Pat McCrory is expected to travel to Greensboro to sign HB 318 into law. Advocates consider this is an insult to the city, and to immigrants and poor people across North Carolina.

“We embrace and celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made to our state and urge our policymakers to expand — not restrict — ways for immigrants to participate in mainstream society. Rather than passing harmful legislation, we urge our legislators to adopt inclusive measures like tuition equality and drivers’ licenses for all NC residents in order to uplift and strengthen our state as a whole,” Khamala said.

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