LEGISLATION IN 2015 & ONGOING LEGISLATION
HOUSE BILL 318
Passed Sep. 29, 2015, this harmful legislation would undermine local government authority and restrict the powers of the state's Executive branch as well. Among House Bill 318's most troubling provisions: restrictions on how local governments address their own needs when it comes to immigrant communities; and restrictive limits on jobless workers' ability to receive food aid during times of economic downturn or in parts of North Carolina that face persistent labor market distress.
At a time when it is increasingly clear that immigrant communities provide important entrepreneurial contributions to main streets, support regional resiliency, and work at many vital occupations across the state, it's counterproductive to limit the ability of local governments to introduce common sense measures that support immigrant integration. Further, the bill is damaging to community safety in that it will make victims and witnesses to crime less willing to interact with the police, and take away tools from law enforcement that are proven to enhance community trust.
The impact of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, the program formerly known as food stamps, is also at risk due to HB 318. SNAP is designed to help ensure people have access to food in time of need. Though there are time limits on how long childless adults can receive SNAP, current federal law permits the Governor to waive these limits when economic conditions do not provide employment opportunities, a condition that allows 77 counties to qualify for the waiver today. HB 318 would permanently prevent the Executive branch from waiving these time limits during an economic recession, or for counties facing dramatic job losses. Jobless workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own would be unable to receive essential food aid for their families.
HB 318 In the News
HIGHWAY SAFETY/CITIZENS PROTECTION ACT
NC House Bill 328 was introduced by Rep. Harry Warren on March 23, 2015.
TUITION EQUALITY LEGISLATION
The North Carolina Justice Center supports in-state tuition for all qualified college and university students in North Carolina, regardless of immigration status. Please see information below about what tuition equity legislation would mean for our students and our state.
All North Carolina students should have the opportunity to continue their education so they can gain the skills that will boost their careers and help modernize the state’s economy. However, North Carolina requires undocumented immigrant students to pay expensive out-of-state tuition, which is nearly 300 percent higher on average.
Media Release: Tuition equity bill would improve educational opportunities, future growth for North Carolina (March 31, 2015)
Budget & Tax Center Brief: "TUITION EQUITY: Expanding College Opportunity and Paving the Way for North Carolina’s Economic Future" (June 2014)
Media Release: Tuition equity for undocumented students furthers education and boosts economy (June 20, 2014)
While a significant comprehensive immigration reform bill has passed the US Senate, progress is currently stalled in the US House. You can urge your Representative to reject punitive proposals that criminalize immigrants (like the un-SAFE Act) in favor of fair and humane legislation that creates a roadmap to citizenship and keeps families together. Take Action NOW.
Immigrants and refugees living in North Carolina may have questions about how the new Federal healthcare law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare") will affect them and their families. A good explanation can be found in the NC Justice Center's new factsheet, which presents detailed information in an easy-to-read Question-and-Answer format. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese (coming soon), Korean (coming soon), and Vietnamese (coming soon).
House Bill 786, the "RECLAIM NC" Act, is an Arizona copycat bill that would increase racial profiling and serves as a comprehensive immigration enforcement bill for NC. The Justice Center OPPOSES this bill. It would require undocumented immigrants to get a driving permit or state ID card, but won't make them available to all, as the legislation establishes criteria to qualify for a permit that will be difficult for many immigrants to meet. Though lawmakers behind the bill, including Rep. Harry Warren, claim this is a balanced bill about targeting serious criminals, it is filled with punitive provisions aimed at immigrants and could end ultimately end up harming the state as a whole. Read more here...
The Justice Center SUPPORTS House Bill 904, The In-State Tuition/Some N.C. Immigrant Youth Act, which would allow all young people who have graduated from North Carolina high schools and lived in the state for at least two years to pay the in-state tuition rates at our public colleges and universities. Read more here...