WE ARE NC STATEMENT: Committee report should affirm immigrant contributions, not scapegoat

We Are NC Coalition urges state select committee on immigration to embrace NC’s future

 
RALEIGH (Dec. 5, 2012) -- It has been a very eventful year since the Select Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy’s first hearing, where Representative Iler promised to take a “dispassionate” look at immigration in North Carolina with the results to be outlined in a report released tomorrow.
 
After hearing from government representatives, the committee now knows that undocumented immigrants enjoy no privilege in their status. The November election showed us that undocumented immigrants have U.S.-citizen family members who vote.  This summer the U.S. Supreme Court told us that most anti-immigrant laws enacted by states are illegal. Business interests told the committee’s members that hurting immigrant families hurts our state economy.
 
Today we await the report knowing that any recommendations for making life more difficult for immigrants is ignoring political, economic and demographic reality in North Carolina. If the report makes such recommendations, we will know that the committee’s fact-gathering gave way to scapegoating.
 
Early on, the committee invited Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson to speak in favor of the 287(g) program. The committee never mentioned that he was under investigation for racial profiling by the U.S. Department of Justice, and that while the committee was still doing its work, Johnson both lost his 287(g) agreement and was found to be engaging in racial profiling. The committee should not tolerate racial profiling or promote legislation that would lead to more discrimination. They should not embrace the backward-looking policies promoted by people like Johnson. Instead, they should embrace North Carolina’s future.
 
Immigrants and other members of minority groups in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly against those who have chosen hate and intolerance over integration and inclusion. The committee’s report should affirm the contributions of immigrants to our state, encourage the federal government to update its laws, and provide a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. Anything less is the politics of hate, not “dispassionate” policy.  
 
We Are NC is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to shift the debate on immigration in our state. We are raising awareness about the efforts of some state legislators to enact discriminatory and harmful new laws that target the people of North Carolina. We believe in the contributions of all communities, including immigrants and refugees, who have worked hard to make NC what it is today. The NC Justice Center is proud to be an active member of We Are NC.
 
For More Information, Contact:  Armando Bellmas, abellmas@latinamericancoalition.org, 704-531-3932