Immigration

a man taking a photo of another man for an ID card.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Like many immigrants, Luis Parra left his home in Mexico looking for prosperity. When he got to the United States 20 years ago, he worked in landscaping, and then in construction.

"Now I do interior trim, which is more detail, more precise. I really like it," he said.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The United States Supreme Court issued decisions this week in several high profile cases related to abortion restrictions and immigration regulations.

The high court also agreed to hear North Carolina's redistricting suit. Their decisions could affect voters in November.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature.  

Republican lawmakers in the state Senate have passed a provision that would allow the state to withhold school and road funding from cities, towns and counties that don't comply with state immigration laws. The change would also prohibit local governments from issuing their own identification cards to people who are in the country without papers.

Child with flag
jvoves on Flickr

North Carolina Republican leaders are fast-tracking a plan to withhold state funding for schools and highways from cities and counties that enact ordinances that are friendly to undocumented immigrants.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Earlier this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained 19-year-old Wildin Acosta as he was leaving his home in Durham.

Acosta has been held in a detention facility for nearly five months while he waits for an immigration hearing. The Corrections Corporation of America says he was recently held in "restrictive housing" for nine days for three alleged citations. CCA says the disciplinary action follows ICE detention standards.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Department of Environmental Quality has pulled the plug on SolarBees.

DEQ says it's removing the devices from Jordan Lake. SolarBees have been churning water at several spots on the lake in an attempt to reduce algae blooms, but a report from DEQ says there has been no improvement in water quality. 

The agency is reevaluating other measures that would limit runoff from the surrounding area, but developers are pushing back. 

An image of Wildin David Guillen Acosta
The Acosta family

Riverside High School senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was detained by ICE officers in January. Acosta sought asylum in the United States after he says his life was threatened by gangs in his native Honduras.

Legal efforts to stop his deportation failed, but over the weekend, Congressman G.K. Butterfield convinced the director of ICE, Sarah Saldana, to issue an executive stay that allows Acosta to remain in a detention facility in Georgia.

Riverside High School students called for the release of Wildin Acosta outside Congressman G.K. Butterfield's Durham office.
Jess Clark

UPDATED March 20, 2016 On Sunday morning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Sarah Salaña issued an order preventing the deportation of Riverside High School student Wildin Acosta before his case has been heard by an immigration judge. Congressman G.K. Butterfield says he worked through Saturday night with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) to convince Saldaña to use her executive authority. This is apparently an about-face from Salaña's decision on Friday night not to intervene.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was headed to school on a typical morning in January when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained him and took him into custody.

Acosta is being held in a facility in Georgia, awaiting deportation to his native Honduras. Acosta says he came to the United States to escape the ultimatum of a violent gang: join us or we will kill you.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

On a cold morning in late January, Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta started his car to warm it up for the drive to school. He went inside his family’s Durham apartment to grab his book bag, and when he came back out, two Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, or ICE officers, were waiting for him.

Jorge Valencia

Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed a law that makes North Carolina less friendly to undocumented immigrants by prohibiting city or county policies that prevent local police from collaborating with federal immigration agents.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

One of the last-minute pieces of legislation the General Assembly passed Tuesday night is designed to make North Carolina less friendly to undocumented immigrants. House Bill 318 would ban what are known as "sanctuary cities." It would also ban police from accepting registration cards from consulates as a valid form of identification.

The chambers of the NC State House
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Lawmakers at the N.C. General Assembly have adjourned for the year, ending the longest session since 2001. An almost all-night session included passage of bills related to immigration, environmental regulations and technical corrections to thousands of pages of legislation passed during the last eight months.

Before the day started, Senate rules chairman Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville) told a committee room to “stay tuned” and that “we could see all kinds of things between now and later.”

Immigration Bill Sparks Tense Debate

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell. 

He has produced more than a dozen documentaries exploring race, death, violence and the American psyche. His work has earned him an Emmy, a Peabody, and a litany of other documentary awards.

Photo: An Interstate in North Carolina
Jimmy Emmerson / Flickr

Rep. Harry Warren likes to wear flag pins on his jacket: One with the U.S. flag, and another with the North Carolina flag. On Tuesday morning, he sported them as he stood in front of the House of Representatives’ powerful finance committee, arguing the federal government has been ignoring a problem, and that the state government should take action.

“The question before us is whether or not we as an elected body want to take some strong legislative steps to hold undocumented folks accountable to obey North Carolina law,” Warren said.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) talks with WUNC's Frank Stasio
Andrew Tie / WUNC

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) quickly ascended from a seat on the parks and recreation commission in Cornelius, N.C., to speaker of the North Carolina House in 2011, and finally U.S. Senator.

In his first five months, Tillis has taken a particular interest in the military with seats in the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Tillis about national security, deregulation, immigration and other issues in Washington.

National Security

An image of a man protesting in Durham
Ivan Almonte

Mexico is thousands of miles away from North Carolina, but Victoria Bouloubasis said she felt like she was there when a friend showed her a video from his phone.

“I am in a Mexican restaurant in Durham and looking at this tiny screen of a video of police brutality in rural Mexico,” Bouloubasis said.

“It was crazy because somebody took the video on their smartphone, put it on Facebook and to see something completely barbaric by the police you had to wonder about the parallels happening in the States.”

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of women and children from Central America are still waiting for decisions about whether they will be granted asylum in the United States. Many came here to escape rising violence in their home countries.

But until their court dates, they are being held at family detention centers along the Southwest border. Advocates and attorneys have reported prison-like conditions at these facilities with limited access to legal representation.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

From gay marriage to puppy mills, North Carolina state legislators have filed more than 1,600 bills this legislative session and they are not even halfway done.

Many bills will not make it through the General Assembly, but some are still causing a stir.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

Lawmakers in the state House have until the end of the day to file any bills they have not yet submitted. 

Hundreds of proposals are already up for debate this session. One plan would require university professors to teach four courses per semester to keep their salaries. 

Photo: Rep. Harry Warren (R-Rowan)
Jorge Valencia

Members of a North Carolina legislative panel approved a plan on Wednesday to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a restricted driver’s license if they pass a criminal background check and meet several other requirements.
 

For sponsors of the bill, the plan is a way to help police enforce local laws when they interact with people who are living in the country illegally. Local charities in Winston-Salem and Greensboro and authorities in Charlotte either issue or are looking for ways to issue identification cards, said Rep. Harry Warren (R-Salisbury).

Sarita and her family arrived from Nepal in 2008, where they had lived in a refugee camp for many years after fleeing political instability in Bhutan.
Andrea Patiño Contreras

The economy can have a major influence on the history of a city.

Factories once brought folks from the world over to new places with a similar goals in mind - to prosper and make a better life. That is the story of Lynn, Massachusetts. Once the home of General Electric and the countless shoe factories, the city was home to immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Armenia. Now, Lynn bears only the vestiges of its industrial success and is economically depressed. Immigration continues but from new areas of the world.

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell. 

The Housecleaner Project

In the last two decades, international migration to North Carolina has increased dramatically and more than half of the state’s foreign-born population is Latino. 

Jeanmarie Schubach

This week, staff members from The State of Things are sharing their favorite shows of 2014.

Producer Will Michaels joined the show in May after working as a producer for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and the North Carolina Teacher Project at WUNC.

Some of Will’s favorites included an interview with a championship track coach who grew up in the segregated South and a conversation with some of the pioneers of NASCAR.

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Will Michaels about the conversations that stood out in 2014.

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