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    NC: Immigration bills stall despite push

    By Mark Binker
    Staff Writer
    Thursday, Jun. 19, 2008 3:00 am

    RALEIGH — Only two laws related to immigration are likely to pass the General Assembly this year despite increased pressure from activists on the topic, legislative leaders said Wednesday.

    "We have to stop making ourselves a magnet among the states for illegal immigrants," said Rep. John Blust, a Greensboro Republican who spoke to a gathering of about 25 anti-illegal immigration activists who gathered outside the legislative building Wednesday morning.

    Those at the rally, organized by the North Carolina-based Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, called for sweeping new laws that would prevent tax-funded services from going to those here illegally and more funding to help local law enforcement agencies catch and deport those here illegally.

    "Every dollar that goes to illegal immigrants and their dependents is one less dollar going to our own legal resident poor and elderly," said Ron Woodard, who leads the anti-illegal immigration group N.C. Listen.

    Advocates such as Woodard and legislators who have been pushing for stricter immigration enforcement will likely see most of the measures they favor die at the end of the legislative session.

    Budget writers do plan to spend more money to help select counties and cities detain and deport those here illegally.

    And the Senate has passed a measure that would allow the Department of Correction to release illegal immigrants to federal customs officials if they are to be deported, essentially paroling them on condition they not return to the United States.

    Although it is not strictly a partisan issue, Republicans in the House and Senate have generally backed immigration-related measures, while Democrats, who control both chambers, have largely opted for the status quo when it comes to immigration policy.

    Democratic leaders say they have taken steps in the past five years to tighten illegal immigration controls, including:

    * requiring proof of legal status to get a driver’s license.

    * requiring state workers and those working for state contractors to be here legally.

    * requiring laws so that jailers must determine if those charged with felonies or impaired driving are legal U.S. residents.

    This year, measures related to admitting illegal immigrants to community colleges and universities have been the focus of fierce debate. But bills designed to make it easier for the children of illegal immigrants to attend state colleges or enter degree programs are not likely to move forward this year.

    "I think it’s a little too hot for this session," said Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat sponsoring one of those bills.

    Rep. Hugh Holliman, a Lexington Democrat and the House majority leader, said the state’s actions can only go so far.

    "We would all like to see the federal government concentrate and solve the problem," he said. "But there’s a limit to what the states can do. We can’t build a wall around North Carolina."



    Contact Mark Binker at (919) 832-5549 or mark.binker@news-record.com

    http://www.news-record.com/apps/pbcs.dl ... /166732126
    287(g) + e-verify + SSN no match = Attrition through enforcement

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