The North Carolina Senate tentatively passed legislation Monday to create a deterrent for local governments that continue to act as ‘sanctuary cities’ by ignoring federal and state laws against illegal immigration.
Last year, the General Assembly passed a law to prevent counties and cities from enacting ordinances that violate or fail to enforce federal immigration laws. But since the law went into effect, several law enforcement officials have contacted lawmakers to raise concern that some local governments are not complying with the law.
Led by Sen. Norman Sanderson (R-Pamlico) and Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson), the Senate tentatively passed legislation to:
- Empower the state attorney general to accept, maintain records of and investigate complaints from citizens who suspect a local government or local law enforcement agency is ignoring the law and report quarterly to the legislature on the findings;
- Direct that all public school building capital funding and Powell funding for city streets be allocated to local governments that comply with the law. Local governments found by the attorney general to have chosen to violate state immigration law will forfeit those funds for the next fiscal year to those that are in compliance with the law. The governments may appeal the decision.
- Create uniform penalties for E-Verify violations; and
- Prohibit the use of “community IDs” issued by private organizations to illegal immigrants lacking proper documents. This can mislead law enforcement by giving a false appearance of legal status.
“It has, unfortunately, become clear that some local governments want to pick and choose which laws to follow, so we are simply providing additional incentive to follow the law,” said Sanderson and Newton in a joint statement. “If our local governments abide by our federal and state immigration laws, they will have nothing to worry about.”