(ESPAÑOL) A bill before the North Carolina judiciary moves forth. The bill, House Bill 63, would subject NC counties and cities found to be in violation of immigration law enforcement to a loss of a variety of state and federal funds, including Powell Bill funds that are used for street maintenance.
It also would give private citizens an avenue to sue local governments or law enforcement agencies if they believe those bodies are violating immigration law, and would require the Attorney General’s Office to follow up on every tip about suspected wrongdoing.
Although more than a dozen people signed up to comment on the measure, public comment was not allowed, although Chairman Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, noted that comments had been taken at the two prior meetings and assured that there would be plenty of future opportunity to voice their concerns.
The proposal also makes it more difficult for someone charged with a crime who can’t immediately prove his or her legal status to be released on bail and would ban pre-trial release without a secured bond. It also would toughen penalties for those who make or sell fake identification documents.
Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, ran an amendment to make it easier for cities and counties to have the funds reinstated after remedying violations of immigration law.
However, sponsor of the bill Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, argued against the amendment.
“We did not come up with the penalties halfheartedly,” Warren said. “If this country, if this state, is going to address this issue, it needs to start somewhere with a firm conviction, and everybody needs to be on the same page.”
Faircloth’s amendment passed narrowly with a 6-5. But another amendment by Rep. Joe John, D-Wake, to remove the “rebuttable presumption” section which puts the onus of proof on the county to prove they did not do the wrong failed on a 6-6 vote.