North Carolina Lawmaker Files E-Verify and Anti-Sanctuary Bills
By Colton R. Overcash | March 7, 2019
North Carolina State Representative George Cleveland (R-Jacksonville) has introduced two separate bills that would significantly strengthen the Tar Heel State’s E-Verify and anti-sanctuary laws.
Rep. Cleveland recently filed House Bill (HB) 63, the Protect North Carolina Workers Act. This bill would increase employer participation in the E-Verify program by reducing the minimum employee threshold from the current 25 down to 5. This reduction would require more than 150,000 additional private businesses to participate in the free federal employment verification system.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has previously said that “participation in the E-Verify program is an important safeguard for American workers who continue to lose jobs and wages to illegal aliens. The free, electronically-based system allows employers to authenticate the legal work eligibility of prospective applicants – the same way a merchant verifies a credit purchase – with a 99.7 percent accuracy rate.”
This legislation would also create carve-outs from the E-Verify mandate for ag-producers, independent contractors, and employers who provide sporadic home care services like landscaping, housecleaning, and general maintenance. State law currently exempts seasonal and temporary employees from E-Verify if they work for 9 months or less during a calendar year. HB 63 would make those exemptions permanent and year-round for these groups.
While HB 63 fails to require universal participation in E-Verify, it does significantly boost participation in the federal program over the status quo in North Carolina, and improve job security for many American workers and legal immigrants.
Rep. Cleveland also introduced HB 135, the Government Immigration Compliance Act. This bill would expand on the state’s 2015 anti-sanctuary law, HB 315, and include several provisions to boost compliance with it. The bill would:
- Allow residents to file complaints with the attorney general against sanctuary cities, counties, and state agencies like public colleges and universities;
- Empower the attorney general to investigate complaints and sanction violators;
- Revoke state funding from sanctuary cities and counties for up to one year;
- Impose fines up to $10,000 per day for each day the violator fails to comply with state law;
- Prohibit sanctuary campuses at public colleges and universities; and
- Let residents sue sanctuary cities and counties if an illegal alien commits a crime against a person or property.
HB 135 also includes FAIR-sponsored language that would require the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), signing up to the 287(g) cooperation program.
DPS oversees several law enforcement agencies including Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (which runs the state’s prisons), Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), State Bureau of Investigations (SBI), the State Capitol Police, and the State Highway Patrol.
If adopted, the 287(g) MOA would accomplish everything from granting ICE access to state facilities to training state personnel to perform immigration enforcement functions. Some of these functions could include alerting ICE to illegal aliens placed under arrest, accessing ICE’s databases, generating their own immigration detainers, and transferring inmates into ICE custody.