UPDATE: 10/28/15 4:15 p.m. EDT: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed H.B. 318 into law on Wednesday, Oct. 28. 


North Carolina is home to one of the fastest-growing Latino population rates in the country, but advocacy groups are warning about a state bill that may target the demographic and undocumented immigrants.

House Bill 318, also known as the "Protect North Carolina Workers Act," focuses on whether an individual can be legally employed in the state. H.B. 318 would also require North Carolina to not adopt "sanctuary city" policies, which would otherwise allow the state to not follow federal immigration enforcement's request pertaining to a detained immigrant.

With H.B. 318, an undocumented immigrant in violation of the law, by not providing valid identification, may be alerted to local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

United We Dream, an immigrant-rights organization, filed a petition against the bill. The petition, addressed to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, calls for him to veto the bill. United We Dream said the law would give police the opportunity to arrest people for not having state identification, and as a result, "would disproportionately target undocumented immigrants who carry foreign IDs."

"The question of immigrants having acceptable identification documents is both a practical and safety concern, and an economic issue for police," wrote United We Dream. "The manpower used to arrest and process people who do not have identification takes away from other policing priorities. It has been estimated that a wider acceptance of foreign and community-issued IDs in Greensboro has saved the equivalent of two full-time police officers' salaries in terms of avoiding unnecessary arrests solely for lack of ID."

The North Carolina AFL-CIO said H.B. 318 creates "hostility" towards working people.

"North Carolina lawmakers have raised the bar for showing hostility to the interests of working people with H.B. 318, and that's saying something for a legislature which has made a sport out of bullying the unemployed and the working poor,'" said MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. "We call on Governor McCrory to veto this bill as soon as it reaches his desk."

The NC State AFL-CIO said the bill would allow employers to threaten undocumented employees with deportation, if any immigrant was to speak about unsafe working environments or wage disputes.

The bill passed the state's legislature, known as the General Assembly, and is expected to arrive at McCrory's desk on Wednesday, Sept. 30.


For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.