This afternoon, Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation into law that prevents North Carolina’s city councils and county commissions from adopting so-called “sanctuary” ordinances — local laws that shield foreign nationals from federal immigration enforcement efforts and which have in the past provided safe havens for illegal aliens who have committed violent crimes. Representative Bell supports this common sense legislation.
The issue of “sanctuary cities” gained prominent national attention after the murder of Kathryn Steinle on July 2 at the hands of illegal alien and seven-time convicted felon Francisco Sanchez. Sanchez, a Mexican citizen, was given his freedom by authorities in San Francisco earlier this year — despite having been already deported from the United States five times before. San Francisco is a sanctuary city.
Governor McCrory signed the legislation with a bipartisan group of sheriffs, community leaders and members of his Advisory Council on Hispanic and Latino Affairs looking on. “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.”
House Bill 318, the Protect North Carolina Workers Act, passed the House along party lines last month: every Republican supported the legislation, while every Democrat opposed it. Most Americans, however, believe that cracking down on sanctuary cities is an important step in stemming the tide of illegal immigration, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.
Progressive activists have been vocal in their demonization of the legislation; even Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign managed to weigh-in on the state bill, dismissing HB318 as being “simply unacceptable.” (For a response to the Clinton campaign, please read “The Clinton Campaign Has It All Wrong On NC’s Illegal Immigration Protections” at the end of this post.) Protestors, organized by Moral Monday affiliated groups, have gathered outside the governor’s residence for the last month in their opposition to the bill.
Perhaps not coincidentally, another Rasmussen poll released this spring revealed that a majority of Democrats across the country also think that illegal immigrants should have the right to vote. Under current law, an individual is required to be a U.S. citizen in order to vote in state or federal elections.
“The term ‘Sanctuary City’ comes from a resolution approved by San Francisco in 1989 that prohibited police from asking about a person’s immigration status,” explained WWNC’s Pete Kaliner in a 2013 blogpost. “It also banned disclosure of that immigration status. In other words, the local law enforcement would not assist the federal government with immigration law enforcement.”
North Carolina already has several local governments that have passed resolutions declaring some form of a “see-no-evil” policy regarding federal immigration law violations. While stopping short of actually declaring themselves to be sanctuary cities, Asheville, Burlington, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greenville, Hillsboro, Durham, Pittsboro, Siler City and Winston-Salem all have ordinances, resolutions or informal policies offering some manner of safe harbor to illegal aliens, according to the North Carolinians For Immigration Reform and Enforcement (NCFIRE), a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to immigration enforcement.
Speaking of the Asheville effort (which passed unanimously), Councilman Cecil Bothwell (who proposed that city’s resolution) said that his sanctuary city language “would also endorse the current practice of our police not to enforce federal law.” NC Capitol Connection’s Matt Caulder, in a July blogpost, calls this “the state’s clearest example of a sanctuary city.”
In response to the passage of HB318, the Greensboro City Council passed a resolution by a vote of 8 to 1 that condemned the state legislation. The only person opposing the move also happens to be the board’s only Republican.
The new law also requires local governments (and their contractors) to abide by federal E-Verify procedures and it will make it harder for illegals to utilize un-authenticated ID cards to open bank accounts, obtain driver’s licenses, and receive welfare benefits to which they are not legally entitled.
House Bill 318 restricts the forms of valid ID used by non-citizens. It specifically prohibits the use of consulate or embassy documents (or other documents not issued by the state or federal government) for determining identification or residency for law enforcement purposes. One of these types of documents is the Mexican ‘Matricula Consular’ card that is often used as ID for receiving federal, state, and local benefits.
But those documents just aren’t good enough, according to Representative George Cleveland, a primary sponsor of the bill. “It is not a valid form of identification,” he explained. “There is really no control over it. It’s a farce.” Cleveland says police should only accept a state-issued ID or a passport. Fellow bill sponsor Representative Chris Millis agrees. “Consular cards are useful in the U.S. only for illegal aliens, because legal immigrants — by definition — already have validated U.S. government-issued documents,” he said. “And according to the FBI, Consular cards can be easily faked.”
The state legislature’s partisan divide on the issue largely mirrors what’s currently going on in Washington, DC. Although Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation this past summer that would have withheld federal funds from sanctuary cities, Senate Democrats last week blocked similar legislation, S.2146, from even coming to the floor.
“A vast majority of the American people oppose sanctuary cities that harbor dangerous criminals who are here illegally, and I’m disappointed that my colleagues blocked this sensible anti-crime bill from coming to the floor for a full debate and vote,” commented Senator Thom Tillis. “This bill includes the common-sense ‘Kate’s Law’ that would crackdown on violent criminals here illegally, and it is endorsed by a number of top law enforcement organizations because it would help keep our communities safe.”
The federal legislation cracking down on sanctuary cities was endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Sheriff’s Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the International Union of Police Association (AFL-CIO) among others.
“When I go to other countries, I go legally and I adhere to the laws,” said Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes, who hosted the governor this afternoon at the county’s sheriff’s office. “Can we not, as the greatest nation in the world, expect others to do the same?”
From the October 14 Daily Caller:
The Clinton Campaign Has It All Wrong On NC’s Illegal Immigration Protections
by Representative Chris Millis
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has characterized immigration legislation that passed the North Carolina General Assembly as “simply unacceptable.” The Protect North Carolina Workers Act, which I sponsored, would enhance our state’s ability to deal with immigration issues such as “sanctuary cities” and the harms associated with invalid forms of identification.
The bill awaits the signature of Gov. Pat McCrory, who has already expressed opposition to Mrs. Clinton on the subject of sanctuary cities. But a top aide on Clinton’s team issued a sharp rebuke over the legislation.
“This anti-immigrant bill is more evidence of the influence Donald Trump has on the Republican Party,” said Lorella Praeli, who is Latino outreach director of Hillary for America. “The negative impact on the immigrant community would be immeasurable.”
Contrary to the claims made by the Democrat frontrunner’s campaign, the Protect North Carolina Workers Act implements reforms that improve safety in our communities and provides proper protection of our state and local tax dollars.
We’ve seen what happens when we don’t enforce our nation’s immigration laws. The tragic murder of 32-year-old Katie Steinle this summer by seven-time convicted felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez – an illegal immigrant who was deported five times – was made possible by San Francisco’s status as a “sanctuary city.”
These “safe haven” ordinances prohibit local law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal authorities to enforce our national immigration laws, and provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants who commit crimes — allowing them to evade proper justice. Mr. Lopez-Sanchez even admitted to police that he came to San Francisco because he knew officials would not deport him.
The Tar Heel State has experienced its own series of crimes committed by people who are in the country illegally. The Protect North Carolina Workers Act prohibits local governments in North Carolina from adopting sanctuary ordinances that provide refuge for illegal immigrants who commit crimes.
To achieve quasi-legal status in the United States, many illegal immigrants also utilize a “Consular Identification Card” to open bank accounts, rent property, establish utilities, potentially obtain driver’s licenses, and access public benefits to which they are not entitled under the law. But Consular IDs, issued by foreign governments, are never authenticated; the holder’s identity is not even verified when the card is issued. Consular cards are useful in the U.S. only for illegal aliens, because legal immigrants — by definition — already have validated U.S. government-issued documents. And according to the FBI, Consular cards can be easily faked.
The bill that I and my colleagues sponsored prohibits the use of Consular Identification cards (and other similar forms of unsecure documentation) for the purposes of determining a person’s identity or residency.
The Protect North Carolina Workers Act also requires state agencies and local governments in North Carolina (and the contractors that do business with them) to abide by federal law and utilize E-Verify to determine legal work status. Expecting local governments to uphold U.S. law is not only common sense; it’s good government. That’s something we should encourage, rather than tear down, to score political points.
I am troubled that Mrs. Clinton, as someone who seeks to lead our great nation, finds these common-sense reforms to be “simply unacceptable.” I believe shielding law-breakers from proper justice to be simply unacceptable. I believe allowing illegal immigrants to take American jobs to be simply unacceptable. I believe allowing people to skirt the law with fraudulent IDs to be simply unacceptable.
With the Protect North Carolina Workers Act, our state is sending a clear message that we will no longer accept the unacceptable.
While Hillary Clinton may not agree, I hope our next president believes that our nation and its citizens — and the rights of those who are legally allowed to live and work here — are worth protecting.
Representative Chris Millis