Immigration

Sign at the U.S. Border
Makaristos via Creative Commons

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 400,000 people. But what happens when those deportees are parents? Children may end up in foster care as parents abroad struggle to regain custody. 

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

This week, the General Assembly overrode two of Governor McCrory’s vetoes on high profile measures. One measure requires drug testing for certain welfare recipients and the other loosens restrictions for seasonal workers. Host Frank Stasio speaks with WUNC's Capitol bureau chief Jessica Jones about the response to legislature's moves. In other political news, the State Board of Elections ruled yesterday on two controversial decisions by local elections boards. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC’s Raleigh bureau chief Dave DeWitt about the decisions. 

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

Lawmakers will be back in session Tuesday to consider overriding Governor McCrory's vetoes of two bills.

Kay Hagan is urging the US Attorney General to review NC's Voter ID law.
Third Way Think Tank via Flickr, Creative Commons

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan says she's asked the nation's Attorney General to look into the state's new Voter ID law.  The North Carolina Democrat says she wanted Eric Holder to examine the legislation signed this month by Republican Governor Pat McCrory.  Hagan says the law enacts restrictions that could suppress voter turnout among minorities, as well as younger and older voters.  Supporters say it's intended to prevent fraud at the polls.  Hagan told WUNC's Frank Stasio those instances barely exist.

A supporter of the Dream Act petitioned for its passage last August.
OneAmerica via Flickr, creative commons

Last summer, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security rolled out a plan to allow undocumented young people who meet certain requirements to receive a temporary legal reprieve. More than 17,000 people in North Carolina have applied for status under the measure, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory vetoed two bills today.

One (HB 786) known as the "Reclaiming NC Act" would have required undocumented immigrants to submit to criminal background checks and fingerprinting to obtain driving permits. It also would have allowed police to detain people they suspect of being undocumented for up to 24 hours. It was heavily critiqued by NC's ACLU chapter and others. McCrory said in a statement that he vetoed it due to a loophole that would allow businesses to hire more undocumented workers.

The second bill Gov. McCrory vetoed today (HB 392) would have required drug testing for Work First applicants, a state program that provides financial assistance and job training to needy families.  The ACLU of North Carolina and the N.C. Justice Center had publicly discouraged Gov. McCrory from signing the bill, saying that it would violate the privacy of low-income people.

U.S. House of Representatives

Some North Carolina members of the U.S. House are taking sides as their chamber gets ready to take up immigration reform this week.   Many House Republicans on Capitol Hill disagree with the comprehensive reform plan passed by the Senate.


GOP Congressman George Holding of Raleigh says the bill doesn't go far enough to protect the border today.  He also says he doesn't think it will be effective moving forward.

Kay Hagan
hagan.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was among the supporters helping to pass an immigration reform plan proposed by a bipartisan group of her colleagues.  The Senate voted 68-32 in favor of the bill introduced by the Senate's so-called 'Gang of Eight' as a way to provide a path to citizenship for more than 11 million people who entered the country illegally. 

Hagan says she spoke with many North Carolinians who urged her to support the bill and said it will benefit the nation on several fronts.

New DACA drivr's license
NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has made an about face and is abandoning its controversial decision to add a bold pink stripe across the top of new driver licenses for young immigrants.  A news release issued Thursday afternoon by the state DOT confirms that the Division of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing driver licenses on Monday, March 25, 2013 for immigrants qualifying under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  But the attached ‘final’ image of the driver license no longer has the pink stripe or the words ‘No Lawful Status’ printed in large type.

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

Educators don’t often get a chance to celebrate publicly, so it was understandable when State Superintendent June Atkinson stood up at a news conference last fall and bragged a little about North Carolina’s 80 percent high school graduation rate.

“This is excellent news for our state and one more step toward ensuring that all of our students graduate from high school career, college, and citizenship ready,” said Atkinson.

Strickland Farms tobacco and house
Leoneda Inge

A new survey shows farmers across North Carolina are worried about the agricultural workforce shortage.  And they want Immigration Reform to help fix it.  More than 600 farmers filled out the Agricultural Workforce survey spear-headed by the North Carolina Farm Bureau.  Faylene Whitaker of Whitaker Farms in Climax, NC, filled one out.

North Carolina driver's license
NCDOT

State DOT officials will issue redesigned driver's licenses later this year that will visually distinguish citizens from non-citizens.   Immigrants here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will notice their licenses will have the words "No Lawful Status" printed on them.  State DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty says those words will be in a bar across the top that will differ from the blue on a normal license.

North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan
www.hagan.senate.gov

Senators from both sides of the political aisle have come to a compromise on federal immigration reform.  North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan is welcoming an immigration proposal from a group of eight of her colleagues. Their proposal seeks to revamp the system that allows immigrants into the country as well as create a citizenship pathway for the millions of immigrants currently in the country illegally. 

The Latino immigrant population faces a host of unique problems when it comes to mental health treatment. Migration trauma and separation issues are just a few of their struggles. The population in North Carolina is underserved, which is why a group of mental health professionals formed the group El Futuro. The group serves the mental health needs of the state’s Latino population, and it is hosting a conference this Friday on the topic. Host Frank Stasio talks about Latino mental health with Luke Smith, executive director of El Futuro; and Karla Siu, clinical manager at El Futuro.

The North Carolina ACLU is urging the state DMV to continue issuing driver's licenses to some immigrants. 

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended its practice of granting licenses to immigrants allowed in the country under a federal policy, Immigrants registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative are allowed to stay in the country if they meet certain guidelines such as having arrived in the country before age 16, graduating high school or attending college or serving in the military.

Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement to partner with state and local police. Those officers are allowed to enforce federal immigration law. Critics say that the program leads to racial profiling of minorities and makes immigrants fearful of reporting crime in their own communities.

Last week, the US Department of Justice released findings following a two-year investigation into alleged racial profiling by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department. The D-O-J says the department targeted Latino drivers, installed unnecessary checkpoints in Latino neighborhoods and abused its power as a county taking part in the controversial 287 (g) deportation program. Alamance has since been removed from the program, but the local Sheriff says these accusations are completely false.

NC Dream Team

Aug 14, 2012

Viridiana Martinez is no stranger to the fight for immigrant rights. As a member of the NC Dream Team, she has been a spokesperson for bringing attention to the mistreatment of the state’s undocumented immigrants. Most recently, Martinez infiltrated an immigrant detention center in Florida to understand what conditions are like. She was released after a few weeks. She and fellow activist Jose Rico talk about her experience with host Frank Stasio.

Viva Cackalacky!

Jul 20, 2012

UNC-CH professor David Garcia tried something a little different last year for one of his classes. It was called "Musical Movements: Migration, Exile, and Diaspora," and instead of a lecture, it was hands-on. The students produced a compilation CD of Latin music from around North Carolina.

Viva Cackalacky!

Jul 20, 2012

UNC-CH professor David Garcia tried something a little different last year for one of his classes. It was called "Musical Movements: Migration, Exile, and Diaspora," and instead of a lecture, it was hands-on. The students produced a compilation CD of Latin music from around North Carolina.

A new study from the Washington DC-based Brookings Institution finds highly skilled immigrant workers are in high demand in Durham.

Asma Khalid: The Brookings study compares requests for H1-B visas in metro areas across the nation.  Jill Wilson co-authored the report.  She says Durham's population may be small but its demand for IT workers from abroad certainly is not.

 Jill Wilson: So it's really high, in terms of its request for 1,000 workers it ranks third in that measure.

An undocumented immigrant that interrupted a state House hearing in February wants his case heard in Wake County Superior Court.

The border between the United States and Mexico is a hotspot of political controversy. Concern over illegal immigration led to the construction of a wall separating many border communities and further dividing the U.S. from its neighbor to the South. A new exhibit at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro examines the border.

State lawmakers are continuing a series of committee meetings on immigration. Representatives of the home building, construction and farming industries spoke to lawmakers today.

Duke researchers say the reasons for a decline in health among recent immigrants may be more complicated than health experts thought. Duke Sociologist Jen'nan Read says researchers may have been drawing the wrong conclusion from data showing that immigrants arrive in the U.S. healthy and then become less so.

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