The North Carolina state legislature just made a huge move to mandate enforcement of immigration laws against illegal aliens across the state moved to action by a high-profile murder 3,000 miles away.
The state Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to ban counties and municipalities from having sanctuary city policies that limit enforcement of immigration laws.
The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Pat McCrory (R).
Supporters of the measure say local governments shouldnt get to opt out of federal laws. They pointed to several sanctuary cities in North Carolina, including Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham.
The bill was inspired by the horrific death of San Francisco native Kate Steinle, who was gunned down by a Mexican illegal alien in July, after he had been released under that citys shameful sanctuary policies.
Under the bill, local governments would be banned from preventing their law enforcement officers from asking about a suspects immigration status. They also couldnt stop law enforcement from sharing immigration information with federal authorities.
North Carolina has been devastated by illegal alien crime. One stunning report showed that, in 2014 alone, there were 4,317 charges of rape of a child 13 or under by illegal aliens.
It just makes common sense to me that we as a legislature would not do anything that would entice any government entities under our oversight to break the law, said Sen. Norman Sanderson, the Pamlico County Republican who presented the bill. I think its sad that were even having to consider this kind of legislation.
The sanctuary cities ban doesnt spell out penalties for local governments that dont comply. Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Randolph County Republican, said hed like to add severe consequences.
We need to punish them, Tillman said. If I could, Id take their charters.
Tillman said the local immigration policies create havens for criminals. All that is is a welcome mat to come on in if youre a criminal and youre here illegally, he said. What in the world is wrong with reporting criminals?
Immigration sanctuary policies differ between towns. Carrboro instructed its police several years ago to ignore deportation orders for immigrants here illegally if they arent wanted for other crimes. Chapel Hill police have had a policy to follow deportation orders but wont ask about a suspects immigration status.
The immigration provision was added to a House bill that also requires state and local government agencies to hire only contractors that follow E-Verify laws to check workers immigration status. The bill also establishes that consular documents issued by a foreign embassy arent a valid form of identification.
That provision drew concern from Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat and candidate for attorney general. He says it would mean some immigrants would be listed as John Doe in court documents, making it harder to identify them.
We should be making our state safer and not putting our people at risk, he said.
Sanderson said the provision shouldnt cause problems and has support from state public safety officials.
The bill is now in the hands of the governor. La Raza, the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center is trying to organize members to call McCrory against signing the bill.
They have helpfully provided a toll-free number, which supporters of the bill can also use to urge him to SIGN it: 866-462-5671. You can also email McCroty using this link.