Senator wants penalties for cities that defy immigration laws - | WBTV Charlotte

Senator wants penalties for cities that defy immigration laws

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)

A North Carolina senator has filed new legislation that would create penalties for jurisdictions that defy federal and state immigration laws.

Senate Bill 145 was filed Tuesday afternoon by Senator Norman Sanderson (R - District 2). 

The bill looks to strengthen a law that was passed by the General Assembly in 2015. That law was slated to prevent counties and cities from enacting ordinances that violate or ignore federal immigration laws.

The bill hopes to create penalties for local governments, law enforcement agencies and public universities that act as ‘sanctuary cities’ and ‘sanctuary universities.’

"Since the law went into effect, several law enforcement officials have contacted legislators to blow the whistle that some local governments are not complying with the law," a release from Senator Phil Berger's office stated Tuesday.

The release also stated that in the past three weeks "officials in the cities of Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Durham have made public statements casting doubt on their willingness to abide by the law."

WEB EXTRA: Read the full Senate Bill 145

According to Berger's office, the legislation would:

  • Require the state attorney general to accept, maintain records of and investigate (with help, if he chooses, from the State Bureau of Investigation) complaints from any citizen who suspects a local government or local law enforcement agency is ignoring immigration law and report quarterly to the legislature on the findings;
  • Direct that all Powell funding for city streets, and revenue from beer and wine taxes, telecommunication taxes, sales taxes on video programming, taxes on piped natural gases and scrap tire disposal taxes be allocated to local governments that comply with the law;
  • Waive a local government’s immunity from civil liability if an illegal immigrant commits a crime in an area acting as a sanctuary city;
  • Prohibit the use of “community IDs” often issued by private organizations to illegal immigrants. This can mislead law enforcement by giving a false appearance of legal status; 
  • Create uniform penalties for E-Verify violations; 
  • Require the UNC System President and Board of Governors to investigate complaints of university policies that limit or restrict the enforcement of immigration laws and communication with federal law enforcement agencies; 
  • Revoke the ability of offending public universities to receive state funds not earmarked for a specific purpose; and
  • Require the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety to partner with the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to train and allow state law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws. 

“While we all welcome immigrants who come to our state legally, local politicians, law enforcement and public university officials are not above following immigration laws, and hopefully these changes will provide the incentive needed to make them do the right thing,” said Sen. Sanderson.

After the bill was filed, three GOP senators signed on to sponsor the bill, including local senators David Curtis (R - District 44) and Andrew Brock (R - District 34).

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