As the nation's leaders continue towards favorable immigration reform, individual states are taking steps to improve their own status in the immigration discussion as well. A popular example is the recent Arizona law that received both positive and negative feedback from all across the United States. The North Carolina House has introduced a bill that is receiving the same proportion of feedback. The main focus of the bill is to provide increased enforcement of immigration. The bill, RECLAIM NC Act, is short for "Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters in North Carolina" Act. It provides driving privileges to undocumented immigrants in the state but also creates stricter regulations on criminal matters involving suspects without legal documentation
North Carolina reportedly includes 325,000 undocumented immigrants within its state's borders. While the bill provides advocates for immigration rights with one thing they have requested – driving privileges – there have been mixed responses to the principle of the bill as well as the other specific provisions. Opponents of the bill that advocate for the rights of undocumented individuals fear that the reform would allow for the screening of seemingly Hispanic individuals, much like many claim occurs in Arizona, where police officers stopping individuals can detain an individual without legal documentation.
On the other side of the spectrum, the bill has received bad press from those who advocate stricter laws on illegal immigration. The bill also includes provisions for short periods of employment that many claim would compete with American and legal immigrant workers. Additionally, they claim that granting the undocumented individuals driving privileges and legal state identification cards essentially grant those individuals amnesty in the state, which is a heated issue for people that hold this side of the view.
Representative Harry Warren, who is a sponsor of the bill, spoke out saying that the fears surrounding the bill were unfounded. The bill was designed for public safety, immigration improvement and assist in enforcement of the laws. He believes that the bill is a fair balance between the interests of undocumented immigrants and those calling for stricter immigration enforcement. State Transportation Secretary spoke out in defense of the bill, claiming that it was good for "accountability and safety." If anything, supporters point out that providing legal driving privileges for these individuals would help enforce state driving laws and improve public safety for everyone.
The driver permits proposed in the bill would be restricted to immigrants who moved to North Carolina prior to April 1, 2013, meaning it is a onetime deal. This is reportedly in order to avoid the past mistakes that the state experienced in making it easy for undocumented individuals to obtain driver's licenses, which resulted in a surge of immigration from other states in order to utilize that provision. The limited time frame on this bill seeks to assist current residents of North Carolina while improving the economy and efficiency of law enforcement. The bill has yet to pass and is still being debated over by both sides of the argument.
If you need legal assistance with immigration, contactNorth Carolina immigration attorneyRobert Brown today.