Bill Would Penalize Sanctuary Cities, Make Bond Harder For Unauthorized Immigrants

Mar 7, 2017

Lawmakers are considering a revised bill that would withhold state funds from local governments deemed to be sanctuary cities.  A House Judiciary Committee discussed the bill Tuesday, but took no action.

The bill calls for penalties to go along with a 2015 law that prohibits cities and towns from adopting policies to protect unauthorized immigrants.

The legislation, which Repubilcan sponsors have named the Citizens Protection Act of 2017, would withhold several kinds of state tax revenues from sanctuary communities. These are generally cities that refuse to work with federal officials to combat illegal immigration.

It also would make it more difficult for people in the country illegally to be released on bond by presuming they are at risk of fleeing.

Unlike a previous version of the bill, this one does not withhold school construction funds.

Several speakers opposed the limits on bond. Dr. Alison Stuebe of Chapel Hill called it an "unnatural disaster for the mothers and families I care for." She said along with tighter enforcement of federal immigration laws, the proposed bill would continue to discourage women from seeking medical care or going to the police.

"This fear of seeking support from law enforcement endangers the entire community," Stuebe said.

Dana Mangum of the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence said the bill could have the unintended consequence of harming victims of domestic abuse.  

"What we are asking for is a bill that encourages victims to come forward to protect themselves and their children," Mangum said.

Chris Storie of Caldwell County spoke in support of the proposal. She described how her brother died in a 2011 wreck in Kill Devil Hills that she said was caused by an unauthorized immigrant from Honduras who had been drinking and ran a red light. At one point during his case, he jumped bail and disappeared, before being recaptured.

The committee plans to take up the bill again at its next meeting Tuesday, March 14.

RELATED LINKS

See the full text of House Bill 63 at NCLeg.net