RALEIGH – The executive director of the state Republican Party called on Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) to take a stand on sanctuary cities legislation recently passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and asked citizens to sign a petition urging Cooper to enforce the law. The N.C. GOP’s Dallas Woodhouse made the demand in a press conference following a remark by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that Gov. Pat McCrory should veto a bill on his desk that makes sanctuary cities illegal in North Carolina.
“There’s a fundamental question the citizens of North Carolina have a right to be answered: Does the Attorney General stand for the rule of law, and stand with the governor in ending sanctuary cities, or does he stand with Hillary Clinton and against the rule of law,” Woodhouse said.
Before House Bill 318 passed the General Assembly, news media reported that Clinton’s campaign called the bill “anti-immigrant” and urged McCrory to veto it. While McCrory has yet to take action on the bill, his campaign sent a fundraising letter on the subject of sanctuary cities.
“I believe that every law enforcement officer is sworn to uphold not only the laws of North Carolina, but also the laws of the United States… and that includes our immigration laws,” the email read in part. He also sent a tweet that alluded to the Clinton campaign wading into the issue and linked to his campaign website.
— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) October 5, 2015
Cooper is the state’s top law enforcement officer and the presumptive Democratic nominee to oppose McCrory in the 2016 election for governor.
Under House Bill 318, localities could not stop local law enforcement from asking about immigration status and or from sharing immigration information with federal immigration officials. The bill would also require state and local government agencies to abide by state and federal E-Verify laws that ensure that employees are in the country legally, restrict the use of matricula consular cards issued by foreign governments for public purposes, and direct the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to stop issuing waivers exempting food stamp recipients from federal work requirements.
The idea of sanctuary cities became national news following the shooting of a California woman. The man accused of the crime is in the United States illegally, had been deported numerous times and could have been deported again shortly before the murder, but San Francisco’s sanctuary laws prevented authorities from contacting U.S. immigration officials.
About 300 U.S. jurisdictions have enacted some form of sanctuary for those in the country illegally, including a handful of places in North Carolina. There is no formal definition of a sanctuary city, but resolutions and ordinances instructing law enforcement officials to ignore deportation orders or requiring them not to ask about immigration status are examples of what some sanctuary cities have done. Chapel Hill and Carrboro have passed ordinances similar to those, and bill supporters say that Charlotte and Durham also have passed ordinances favorable to immigrants in the country illegally.
A spokeswoman for Cooper’s office said the attorney general would not comment on the party’s demands.