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Good news and bad news from the U.S. Senate today:

The good: Overwhelming approval of The Employment Non-Discrimination Act ENDA – 64-34. The “ayes” included several Republicans including, believe it or not, that radical leftist Orrin Hatch of Utah (but not, disappointingly, North Carolina’s Richard Burr).Wonder when someone will stick a microphone in the face of Burr and the other opponents and ask them why they think it’s okay to fire people because they are gay.

The bad: More absurd stonewalling of eminently qualified women nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – the nation’s second most important court.  

Good news and bad news on the public education front from NC Policy Watch reporter Lindsay Wagner:

The good: North Carolina fourth and eighth graders continue to do better than average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests.

The bad: Really lousy new numbers for NC students on standardized tests as the state moves to align with the much more rigorous demands of the Common Core education standards. The Common Core, of course, has been a target of frequent attacks from the right (and some progressives).

Good news and bad news from the McCrory administration in recent days: Read More

Immigrants ICEA recent court settlement in Alabama should serve as a warning to North Carolina legislators who still seek to pass anti-immigrant laws. Alabama agreed to settle two law suits brought against it after the passage of its harsh anti-immigrant law, HB 56, in 2011.  Both immigrants’ rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice sued Alabama over different parts of the law, and both those suits settled last week.

Previously many of the harshest provisions of the Alabama law had already been temporarily blocked by courts, and in the new settlement, Alabama agreed that those provisions would never go into effect, including a provision requiring public schools to verify the immigration status of students, and one preventing all contracts with undocumented immigrants. The permanent blocking of those harmful provisions is a huge victory for immigrants in Alabama and across the nation.

Most of the parts of the law that are now permanently blocked in Alabama never made it into North Carolina’s omnibus immigration bill, HB 786, which was proposed in 2013.  However, several provisions in Alabama’s law were identical or similar to those proposed here, and their fate in this recent settlement should be of interest to state lawmakers.

North Carolina legislators, for example, Read More

In case you missed it, the editorial page of the newspaper at the heart of the state’s furniture industry (the High Point Enterprise) didn’t take to kindly to Governor McCrory’s rather odd attack last week in which he claimed that members of the industry helped override his veto of an immigration bill because they wanted to hire undocumented workers. This is from an editorial posted late Friday:

“Our reaction upon first hearing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s comment was: ‘Well, that’s a pretty irresponsible statement.’

Upon further review: Our call is confirmed.

On Wednesday, the GOP-controlled General Assembly overrode McCrory’s veto of a bill broadening state exemptions for using the federal E-Verify system to check immigration status of workers. During a State Board of Education meeting after the Legislature’s vote, McCrory said:

“Some of the manufacturers in towns like High Point worked hard for this bill because they, frankly, want to hire illegal immigrants as opposed to North Carolina workers and paying good wages.”

It’s ironic that McCrory’s comment came amid an educational setting, because his remarks certainly were neither very smart politically — nor factual. Read More

In addition to the mushrooming movement of fast food workers that is generating protests and strikes around the state today, the good folks at Fair Share will be calling on Congresswoman Renee Ellmers today with a petition calling for immigration reform. This is from the announcement:

“Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform for a fair economy will deliver more than 1,000 petition signatures to U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers Thursday, demanding that the congresswoman call for an up-or-down House vote. The action comes as proponents of immigration reform highlight the issue in North Carolina and across the country as members of Congress prepare to head back to Washington, D.C. in less than two weeks.

‘When we bring 11.5 million aspiring Americans out of the shadows and allow them to join the legal, regulated workforce, Read More

In case you missed it over the weekend, Raleigh’s News & Observer had an encouraging story in the Sunday edition. This is the summary from the good folks at Uniting NC:

Today’s N&O includes a great story about Uniting NC’s most recent volunteer day.

Last Saturday we continued our series of service events  bringing together immigrants and non-immigrants to give back to their community. And again we had lots of great volunteers looking to lend a hand. This time we had over 30 volunteers from 10 different countries.

We sometimes hear cynics tell us that people are coming to the U.S. looking for handouts. They emphasize costs without considering contributions. But have they ever met the people they’re talking about? Read More