Commentary, News

McCrory draws fire after signing bill targeting immigrants, food stamp recipients

McCrory-HouseBill 318

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

On Wednesday, Governor Pat McCrory signed the Protect NC Workers Act saying the bill would outlaw sanctuary cities and emphasize the value of work.

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 also forbids the use of consulate documents to determine a person’s identity while requiring state and local government agencies to use the E-Verify system. Another provision of the law places new restrictions on jobless workers’ ability to receive food aid.

Critics call the legislation dangerous, harmful, and unnecessary.

The ACLU of North Carolina believes HB 318 will only encourage discrimination:

“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.”

The NC Justice Center says the measure makes North Carolina seem like “a hostile place for newcomers of all identities”

We are also deeply disturbed by how this bill limits jobless workers’ ability to receive food assistance. This could affect up to 100,000 North Carolinians and their broader communities, most of which are rural. The bill would permanently prevent North Carolina from waiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s benefit time limit. This time limit applies regardless of whether these individuals are actually able to find employment or training opportunities. The end of current waivers will come at a time when 77 counties qualify for the waivers due to a significant lack of jobs.

Angeline Echeverría, the Executive Director of El Pueblo, explains in an opinion piece:

…this bill eliminate[s] a common sense policy solution that municipalities throughout the country have adopted as a beneficial way to facilitate greater immigrant integration in local communities. Municipal ID cards and consular documents are some of the most practical means of identification for immigrant community members, and municipalities like Greensboro have cited their effectiveness in increasing efficiency within the Police, Water Resources, and Parks & Recreation Departments. HB 318 would put a strain on government by invalidating these documents and forcing local officials to dedicate precious resources to deciphering the implementation of this bill and its potential impact on procedures affecting everything from the issuance of birth certificates, school enrollment, and applications for marriage licenses.

…the prohibition on “sanctuary cities” will adversely affect local government autonomy and resources. While many in the General Assembly vocally support the ideals of limited state intervention in local government, this legislation will keep towns and cities from making their own decisions on the extent to which they choose to dedicate local resources, such as officers and jails, to federal immigration enforcement policies. State governments are under no obligation to enforce laws that are exclusively federal in nature, such as immigration. Removing the ability of local municipalities to make the perfectly legal decision to not use their own taxpayers’ money to enforce federal programs disrupts law enforcement agencies’ ability to set their own priorities for community safety. This provision certainly does not protect workers or our state’s economy by encouraging local officials to help deport immigrant community members: according to the Perryman Group, if all unauthorized immigrants leave North Carolina, the state would lose $14.5 billion in economic activity, $6.4 billion in gross state product, and approximately 101,414 permanent jobs.

The North Carolina State AFL-CIO calls the new law anti-worker:

Governor McCrory has signed a law, H.B. 318, that will starve people struggling to find work, will make it harder for local police and local governments to protect and serve the public, and will make it easier than ever for criminals and unscrupulous employers to exploit immigrant workers,” said MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. “Signing an abusive law dishonestly named the ‘Protect North Carolina Workers Act’ is proof for any voter who still needed it that their governor cannot be trusted to defend working people.”

And Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“North Carolina, much like the rest of our nation, is at a crossroads: We can continue to ostracize and criminalize vital members of our communities, or we can work together to come up with inclusive policies that make us all safer, healthier, and better able to use essential services when needed. We – along with those elected to represent us – must move past the hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric that spurs legally questionable legislation and instead get to work on solutions that move our communities forward together.”

Advocates for immigrant families and various grassroots groups are planning a 3:00 p.m. rally Thursday outside the Governor’s mansion to voice their opposition to HB 318. Learn more about that action here.


  1. John Bowman

    October 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    If you think we are all racist haters then move someplace else you will feel more comfortable. Adios.

  2. Brandy Baron

    October 29, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Well done, Governor Pat McCrory! People who have no respect for our borders and laws obviously have no respect for our country and people. People like that don’t deserve ANY part of the American Dream and neither do their children. I agree with Mr. Bowman’s comment… if you think we’re all racist haters for not wanting to reward your lawlessness and disrespect of us, go someplace else. (This ‘racist hater’ is an American of Mexican descent.)

  3. Valerie Gonzalez

    October 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    We are not all “haters.” That’s why we disagree with this law. This law makes it easier for those who are doing wrong and don’t want to be identified. The vast majority of immigrants from every country are hardworking people who want to make a better life for their families. They are taxpayers and consumers who add to our economy. They want to be good citizens and good neighbors. I hope they will be given the opportunity to live without fear and uncertainty.

  4. Gerry Nance

    October 29, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Discrimination is the essence of sovereignty.

  5. Gerry Nance

    October 29, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    The law protects and encourages immigrants who obey our laws and discourages illegal aliens.

  6. Angie C

    October 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    This law is dangerous, and not just to immigrants but to those in poverty especially who depend on food stamps to survive. This governor is an idiot and has no clue what it is like to try and survive on hard times. Through no fault of my own I lost my job and I have to depend on food stamps to get food into my household. Now my very life can be in jeopardy thanks to this bill! People say it’s easy to find a job, bull! This is North Carolina aka. The Jobless state thanks to Textiles, furniture, and tobacco being all but wiped out. Especially here in High Point NC where furniture was supposed to be THE income prize. There is nothing here to be had, I can’t wait to leave this state!

  7. Keenen Altic

    October 31, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    The law is written by the wealthiest 1% who have driven privatization and coup’s in Latin America that have caused a mass influx of migrants to the USA. When immigrants come to the USA they are running from US foreign policy.

  8. Elmer Ramos

    November 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I like Gerry Nance comment. Few words and smart unlike the other comments on here.

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