New Law Prohibits "Sanctuary Cities"; Cracks Down on Undocumented Immigrants

A new law in North Carolina has a whole lot of people speaking out. It supposedly puts a stop to so-called "sanctuary cities", but some activists are calling the legislation completely anti-immigrant.

The first thing it changes is what kind of ID some people carry in their pockets. Law enforcement will no longer be able to accept one particular form of identification they've been using for a while to figure out if people are who they say they are.

Civil rights activists gathered in uptown Charlotte outside the Government Center to protest a bill Governor Pat McCrory signed into law Wednesday.

"McCrory, that doesn't sound like a Native American name to me. It sounds like his people came from somewhere. It's obvious his family had the opportunities to be here in to be here in the United states of America, rights he's denying to recent immigrants to North Carolina," said civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.

The new law - called House Bill 318 - is meant to stop cities from enacting policies that protect undocumented immigrants. North Carolina GOP Senior Advisor Ricky Diaz says the new law protects the very fabric of our country.

"This bill has been characterized by opponents as anti-immigrant. I can tell you as a son of someone who came to this country legally; this bill enhances public safety and upholds the values of our country. At the end of the day, our country is governed by the rule of law," said Diaz.

The new law allows law enforcement to ask people their citizenship status and pass on that information to federal law enforcement agencies. Some say that paves the way for police to profile people.

Also, it restricts the kinds of IDs undocumented immigrants can show to prove who they are.

Identification issued by the Mexican consulate is no longer accepted.

Charlotte City Councilman John Autry says that goes against the city's recent efforts to be more ‘immigrant friendly’.

"Every time they encounter someone who isn't documented, they have to roll them downtown, book them, take the officer off the street, and pay for that booking. That’s not the best use of city resources," said Autry, who represents District 5.

The new law does say - however - that a pay stub, utility bill, and car insurance policy are acceptable forms of identification. A foreign passport is also something law enforcement can use to ID people.

This new law also goes beyond police. It applies to any local government agency. They can no longer accept a Mexican consular ID, school, or city ID as a valid form of identification for the services they provide.

To read the new law, click here.