Is NCFIRE Undocumented?

Attend any legislative meeting at the NC General Assembly related to immigration or documentation of identity and you’ll likely find James Johnson in the front row, shoulder to shoulder with Ron Woodard of NC LISTEN and/or William Gheen of ALIPAC. Johnson, an advocate of Arizona style immigration controls, is President/Founder of North Carolinians For Immigration Reform & Enforcement (NCFIRE). Described variously as a non-profit organization, accepting tax deductible donations, and specifically as a 501(c)3 organization*, NCFIRE is curiously MIA when it comes to documentation of its own identity.

The organization is not listed as a non-profit corporation with the NC Secretary of State’s Office, nor is it listed as having been licensed by the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section of the NC Secretary of State’s Office. This in itself is not unusual but NCFIRE is not listed in IRS Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations (eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions). In response to a direct call, the IRS stated that there is “no record of tax exempt recognition by virtue of an approved application” for this organization.

“And that’s it, there’s no check, there’s no verification that the information they gave them was valid, there’s no check to make sure that they are actually who they say they are,” – James Johnson, President of NCFIRE, protesting a Mexican Consulate event.

While there are exceptions to every rule, the absence of paper trails or verification for an organization strong on verifiable documentation is troubling to say the least. In fact NCFIRE has a form letter to send to employers that includes these threatening statements:

“The I.R.S. does not take kindly to employers avoiding employee withholding taxes. Penalties for willful failure to collect, truthfully account for and pay, the withheld income taxes and employee’s share of FICA, amount to $500 per unauthorized employee. … We certainly wouldn’t want to see any business negatively impacted by reporting them to I.C.E. and the I.R.S.”

NCFIRE’s own reporting to the IRS is somewhat ambiguous. NCFIRE was formed in 2007, and is located in Wade NC, in Cumberland County. A search of publicly accessible IRS Form 990 annual returns for non-profit organizations turns up no records for any variant of the name NCFIRE, North Carolinians For Immigration Reform & Enforcement, or the Employer Identification number stated on its website. The closest match is the unrelated “Wade Community Fire Department Inc”, a 501(c)4, the town’s volunteer fire service.

Claiming a membership of 6,000 NCFIRE produces a monthly “North Carolina Illegal Alien Crime Report”, a compilation of rap sheets from public sources for people with Hispanic and Muslim sounding names, “suspected illegal aliens”, without regard to actual immigration or citizenship status. The demonization of “other” is expanded in statements on the group’s website, which include:

• We support limiting our jobs and resources to the citizens of North Carolina
• End taxpayer funding of all North Carolina ethnic councils.
• Prohibit the use of all foreign ID cards for any taxpayer funded services or civic activities.
• Eliminate taxpayer funding to NC colleges and universities that allow illegal aliens to enroll.
• Mandate English as the official language of NC.
• Fed up with the abuse of the 14th Amendment (“Anchor Babies”) to circumvent citizenship laws?

During the past year several legislative hearings related to immigration and documentation of identity have taken place with little notice, with little indication of the opportunity for public comment, or with the purpose obscured by obtuse bill titles. Yet ALIPAC, NC LISTEN and NCFIRE can be found front and center, an indicator of unique communication with committee chairs or bill sponsors, while other stakeholders with opposing views are poorly represented.

Perhaps being an undocumented organization would make one eligible to hold forth on undocumented workers. The fact that NCFIRE has been given opportunities to address legislative committees at the NC General Assembly on issues of identity and eligibility, without transparent accountability as to its own credentials, is a testament to the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, but is a mockery of the 14th Amendment, in particular the Equal Protection Clause which reads:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

*References:

NCFIRE Website and Facebook Page:

Please Consider Your Support With A Contribution
Donations to NCFIRE are tax-deductible

Cumberland County Republican Women Website 9/13/11 James Johnson speaker:

NCFIRE is a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

Pantano for Congress Website James Johnson statement:

NCFIRE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and as such, we cannot endorse political candidates however, we strongly agree with Ilario Pantano’s stance against illegal immigration and against amnesty for illegal aliens.

Note:
NC LISTEN is an acronym for North Carolinians for Lowering Immigration to Save the Environment Now, a documented 501(c)3. ALIPAC is Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, operated as a Federal PAC by William Gheen a registered NC lobbyist.

One Comment

  1. Andrew

    December 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    That’s quite some digging.