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Philadelphia Freddie Gray Protest

Source: Mark Makela / Getty

Over 100 people rallied Thursday afternoon outside the Governor’s Mansion, including some who blocked the entrance to the building, in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to sign into law a proposal that prohibits any North Carolina county or municipality from restricting local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration officials.  House Bill 318, also known as the Protect North Carolina Workers Act, requires state and local government agencies to use the E-Verify system to check the legal status of job applicants and contractors, bars government agencies or law enforcement from using consular or embassy documents to verify someone’s identity or residence and limits food assistance for able-bodied, childless adults who are unemployed.

Carmen Rodriguez, one of the protesters in the blockade and an undocumented mother of three who has lived and worked in Raleigh for over 10 years had this to say “The immigrant community is waking up. We are losing our fear to raise our voices and confront this racism, face to face.”

On Thursday, protesters stood outside his residence in downtown Raleigh chanting, “Let’s stop the hate. We make America great,” and “We pay taxes too.” Several North Carolina municipalities, including Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, have so-called “sanctuary city” policies that instruct law enforcement and other officials not to ask the immigration status of people with whom they come into contact or even ignore deportation orders in some cases.

McCrory defended the new state law, saying in an interview with WRAL News that the concept of sanctuary cities conflicts with the oaths law enforcement officers take to uphold the law.  McCrory also said he’s studied the issue of immigration since his days as Charlotte mayor, and he said it clearly has an impact on public safety, including drug trafficking, human trafficking and drunken driving cases.

Some people criticized his decision to sign the bill in Greensboro, which had publicly opposed it.


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