GREENSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Pat McCrory signed a controversial bill into law Wednesday that in part bans the creation of “sanctuary cities.”
Those opposed to “Protect North Carolina Workers Act” said it will hurt North Carolina’s undocumented population.
But McCrory defended the bill on Wednesday in a signing at the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
“I understand we are a nation of immigrants and a strong immigrant community is essential to our state,” McCrory said in signing the bill Wednesday afternoon. “Each immigrant arriving here legally and following our laws is a blessing to our state.”
McCrory added, “We have this scourge of human trafficking, primarily young women who are being take advantage of. “By enforcing the law, we can help find a deal with the some of these cartels.”
McCrory said the bill would be a critical tool in helping law enforcement officials control illegal immigrants. He did not speak to reporters after signing the bill.
The bill limits the type of identification government officials can accept.
The bill also prohibits cities and counties from adopting “sanctuary ordinances.” Those ordinances would limit the cooperation with federal officials in the tracking of undocumented immigrants.
A single-person household can remain on food stamps for up to three months, the bill states.
The NCGOP released a statement that said ending sanctuary cities is good for North Carolina.
“Ending sanctuary cities is good for all North Carolinians because as a nation and state governed by laws, no one should give sanctuary to anyone who breaks them, and that includes our immigration laws,” the release said.
Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake) said the bill goes “too far” and said it was “mean spirited.”
The bill has been marked by protests in the Hispanic community. On. Oct. 1, protesters handed McCrory a petition asking him to veto the bill. And on Saturday, protesters interrupted McCrory’s event promoting pet adoption.
“It’s like one of the biggest human rights violations that we’ve seen in the state in a long time,” protester Jorge Ramos told WNCN.
“It’s going to affect our community. They’re not going to be able to like mothers to pick up their sons from school, to pick up medicine from the pharmacies,” added David Salazar, another protester on Saturday.