The House select committee on the the State’s Role in Immigration, a group that was looking into the 287(g) program and what other states like Arizona and Alabama were doing, cancelled its meeting scheduled for today.
It’s hard not to look at the results from the November 6 election and the “evolution” of key national Republicans and see a lot of reasons to rethink the aggressive pursuit of laws intended to get people to self-deport. Immigration is one of those issues where the new legislature will be challenged to reverse course as a result of the election.
You can peruse the committee’s agendas and presentations and get an idea of where it was headed. A lot of consideration was given to an Alabama-styled bill, which aims to encourage “self-deportation,” which is a nice way of saying make life intolerable.
You may recall the ruckus at the committee’s meeting in February when the committee heard from the homebuilders and the state’s growers about what a tough law like Alabama’s might do. From the official minutes of the meeting:
Representative Cleveland was recognized and stated the idea that illegals being forced out of the State is going to cause economic hardship is overblown and it would be a benefit to the State to have the illegals gone. After a raid on a packing plant where several illegal workers were removed, the plant reopened two days later with American workers filling the jobs. Ms. Jacoby replied that she does not condone illegal immigration; however, states such as Georgia, Alabama and Arizona have found that driving these workers out of the state has been bad for industry. The states are caught between a rock and a hard place on what can be done to help these companies get legal immigrant workers.
Representative Cleveland was again recognized and asked what was the actual monetary number for the loss in agriculture and what is the real truth since nobody has an honest figure. If the numbers were true, the state of Georgia would be back peddling and they arenâ€™t. Ms. Jacoby responded that NC is on the right path with E-Verify and time must be given to allow it work.
Representative Iler asked if the 25 employee number for HB 36 should be higher or lower. Ms. Jacoby answered that the number is a good balance. Other states such as Utah have a 14 employee threshold and Tennessee has a 10 employee threshold before E-Verify must be used.
Representative Iler asked if any solution in relation to a state issue ID have been proposed in other states. Ms. Jacoby stated she had not seen this in any state than for guest worker programs.
Representative Warren was recognized and asked about any potential programs that would transition people from the unemployment line or penal system to the fields. Ms. Jacoby responded that Georgia had tried this and the results were not promising. Workers were fleeing the fields around 3:00 in the afternoon and it was harder work than they want to do. Representative Warren was recognized for a follow up and stated that E-Verify does nothing to stop identity theft.
Representative Cleveland was recognized for a comment regarding a large drug bust in Rockingham County confiscating $600,000.00 and over 1,000 pounds of marijuana from two illegal aliens.
At this time, several members of the audience stood and made the statement that they were â€œillegal and unafraidâ€. These demonstrators were removed from the committee room and three arrested for disorderly conduct.
Chairman Iler stated that demonstrations and outbursts will not be tolerated by the committee.
Rep. George Cleveland, you may recall, is the representative who famously said there is no one in deep poverty in North Carolina.