NC immigrant groups oppose move to defund sanctuary cities

State legislators discuss House Bill 63. (Beau Minnick | CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Immigration advocacy groups are taking action after a bill was proposed in the state General Assembly that would, among other things, direct the Department of Revenue to withhold funds from cities that violate the sanctuary cities law..

“This bill does not make North Carolinians safer,” said immigration attorney Evelyn Smallwood. “This does not make the immigration community safer.”

That’s the message opponents of House Bill 63 took to the General Assembly.

The bill, also called the Citizens’ Protection Act, is before a House judiciary committee.

“With so many responsibilities facing the state, why would we ask our local officers to increase their liability to take on the responsibilities of federal officers?” asked Mercedes Restucha-Klem, an attorney with El Pueblo, a Latino community group also represented at the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Jorge Ramos, an undocumented student, says he’s fearful of the effects the bill could have.

“We do know that it would have a lot of negative effects on our community and the relations between police departments and immigrant communities or just Latino communities in general,” he said.

But a Republican lawmaker defended the proposal.

“We have an issue with undocumented individuals and we need to make some changes,” said Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe).

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