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A North Carolina House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the “RECLAIM NC” Act today, an Arizona-style immigration bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Warren and 13 others (including a key member of Speaker Thom Tillis’ leadership team, Rep. Ruth Samuelson). The proposal includes a raft of anti-immigrant provisions, including making it harder for undocumented immigrants to post bond for minor criminal offenses, requiring them to pay for their own incarceration time, and making it easy to seize and impound cars of people caught driving without insurance or a proper license. 

The bill also includes the odd and controversial twist of “requiring” all undocumented immigrants to register for a “restricted driving permit,” which would not the same thing as a driver’s license. Representative Warren claims that the driver’s permit requirement is intended to make all drivers safer by identifying folks who are driving on state roads.  This claim is belied, however, by the fact that bill: a) requires undocumented immigrants to register for a state ID card even if they have no intention of driving at all, and b) excludes many people from obtaining the driving permit at all.

Probably the most telling moment of this morning’s hearing was when the committee discussed the “show me your papers” provision, and Representative Rick Glazier asked  Warren how a law enforcement officer could form a “reasonable suspicion” that someone was in the country without papers. Watch the exchange here:

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As you can see, Read More

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In case you missed it, Jessica Rocha of the N.C. Justice Center has an excellent essay in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer on the absurdity of the proposal by conservative state lawmakers to prevent the state of North Carolina from making use of identification cards issued by foreign governments.

As Rocha writes:

“Some people who live in North Carolina can’t get a state-issued card. If they are foreigners, they can get IDs issued by their governments, just like Americans get them from ours as the country best positioned to confirm the facts regarding a person’s citizenship, age, complete name and address. For Mexican citizens living in the United States, regional consular offices process and issue consular identification cards. Also known as the “Matricula Consular,” it does not confer immigration status or eligibility for any U.S. benefits or privileges. It is a path to nothing more than clarity…. Read More

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McCrory11092012Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” And right now, it appears that one of ol’ Tip’s leading disciples is Governor Pat McCrory. How else to explain the Guv’s repeated decisions to ignore national trends and double-down on far right policies that seem sure to alienate important constituencies to which his own party is trying to build bridges?

Last month, McCrory was doing his best to thumb his nose at the unemployed, the uninsured and the health care industry generally with his decisions to turn down billions in federal unemployment insurance and Medicaid dollars. He’s already made clear he has no real interest in reaching out to the African-American community with his statements of support for a mandatory voter ID law.

And now, in a move that is more symbolic than substantive, he has given a big raspberry to another community that national Republicans had been trying to court in the wake of last November’s presidential election by announcing that he’s closing the state’s Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs. Read More

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In case you missed it yesterday, the Charlotte Observer had a good editorial that offered: a) tempered praise for the McCrory administration’s plan to ditch the pink stripes on licenses for immigrants, and b) a big thumbs down on a legislative proposal to make it easier for people with mental health issues to obtain handguns.

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

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pink-licenseFrom ACLU-NC Communications Director Mike Meno:

ACLU-NC Calls New Design of Driver’s Licenses for Young Immigrants ‘Huge Step in the Right Direction’

New Design for Driver’s Licenses to be Issued Next Week to Young Immigrants Receiving Deferred Action Removes Much-Criticized Pink Stripe, Adds Clarifying Phrase ‘Legal Presence,’ And Will Keep Licenses Horizontal for 21+

RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation says a new design for driver’s licenses the N.C. Department of Transportation unveiled today for young immigrants receiving work permits through the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) is a step in the right direction but that concerns about the licenses remain. Read More