Young Latina demands North Carolina governor veto anti-immigrant bill

Last week, the North Carolina legislature ratified a bill that could be the United States’ newest “show me your papers” law. If passed, HB 318 would increase cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities by empowering local police to arrest anyone anyone not carrying state identification, and prohibiting “sanctuary cities” — cities where law enforcement is not required to hand undocumented immigrants over to immigration authorities. 

Nancy Cardenas has since started a petition asking Governor McCrory to veto the bill. Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, she saw firsthand some of the challenges that undocumented people face in accessing basic services and understood that HB 318 would make immigrant families even more reticent to call law enforcement for help when they need it.

“[HB 318] raises safety issue for all residents of North Carolina, not just undocumented people. When some community members are hesitant to call the police for fear of being deported, it threatens the safety of the entire community. It means that women who are being abused by their partners might not call the police for help, or workers who are being mistreated by their employers will be afraid to speak out. In a state with one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country, HB 318 would leave thousands of people living in the shadows, in constant fear that they might be deported away from their families. We cannot stand by while this bill passes.”

HB 318 is modeled after legislation like Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, otherwise known as the “show me your papers” law. SB 1070 required law enforcement to attempt to determine an individual’s immigration status during a lawful stop, so long as there was reasonable suspicion that the person might be undocumented — otherwise known as racial profiling. In the following few years, similar bills were passed or proposed in states like Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, leaving undocumented people in the South living in constant fear of interactions with the police.

In the current political climate, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if passed, HB 318 could set off another wave of anti-immigrant legislation. We can’t let this happen. Sign Nancy’s petition and demand that Governor McCrory veto this racist bill.

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Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at Change.org, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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