RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) is strongly criticizing a state House bill that would bring an Arizona-style anti-immigrant law to North Carolina, as well as other provisions targeting undocumented immigrants. Filed yesterday by four House Republicans, H.B. 786 would allow law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of anyone they stop and detain them for up to 24 hours, make it harder for undocumented immigrants to post bail, require anyone who is undocumented and arrested to pay the cost of their detention, and would allow law enforcement to impound and seize the vehicles of undocumented drivers.
“This is a harsh, Arizona-style anti-immigrant bill that will lead to racial profiling and send a message that North Carolina is a hostile environment for aspiring citizens,” said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. “The proposal gives police the power to harass people based solely on suspicion of their immigration status, opening the door to stops based on stereotypes and racial bias rather than facts and evidence.”
The bill also rejects matricula consular IDs issued by the Mexican government as an acceptable form of identification, while authorizing undocumented immigrants to obtain an annual driver’s permit that will be vertical and include the driver’s thumbprint.
“While we agree that North Carolina should extend driving privileges to all who qualify, regardless of immigration status, everything else in this bill is unnecessary, anti-immigrant, and would move our state in the wrong direction,” Preston said.
The ACLU-NC would instead support proposals, such as H.B. 915, that would extend driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants without the other harsh provisions included in H.B. 786.