House Panel OKs Penalties Against 'Sanctuary Cities'

Mar 14, 2017

A North Carolina House Judiciary committee voted 6-5 along party lines Tuesday to advance a bill that would take away state funds from local governments that take steps to help undocumented immigrants. 

The so-called "sanctuary city" bill is sponsored by several House Republicans. It calls for penalties that would give teeth to a 2015 law that prohibits cities and towns from adopting sanctuary policies.

The committee defeated an Amendment offered by Democrats that tried to weaken another part of the bill that would make it more difficult for people in the country illegally to be released on bond. If enacted and signed by the governor, it would create a presumption that undocumented residents accused of crimes are at risk of fleeing, and make it hard for them to win release.

A long list of speakers signed up to comment on the bill at Tuesday's meeting. But committee leaders said there wasn't time. The committee did listen to comments at previous meetings - most of them opposing the bill. 

House Bill 63, as it's called, would penalize cities or counties found in violation of the sanctuary law by withholding state funds, including money for roads. 

Another provision of the bill would increase penalties for those who make or sell fake IDs. 

The bill still has to pass two other committees - appropriations and finance - before it goes to the full House.