Four North Carolina House Republicans filed a bill on Wednesday that notably introduces the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigration law. Under the bill, H.B. 786, police can check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest and detain them for “reasonable suspicion.” The bill also makes it easier for police to seize immigrants’ vehicles. Furthermore, it would require a detained undocumented immigrant to pay the costs of his or her arrest, while making bail more difficult.
The bill does provide driver’s permits to undocumented immigrants if they lived in the state for one year. However, these licenses follow the controversial design North Carolina attempted to issue to DREAMers, which mark them from the rest of the state’s population: Undocumented immigrants would receive a vertical license, instead of the standard horizontal one, and they would carry a thumbprint.
Since Arizona enacted SB 1070, the state has suffered economically, losing hundreds of millions of dollars in productivity, tourism, and new business. North Carolina, home to 325,000 undocumented immigrants, also has a growing number of immigrant citizens who comprise 10 percent of the state’s workforce.
Lately, North Carolina Republicans have made the state the Tea Party’s ground zero with bills that suppress minority votes, create a state-sponsored religion, and shut down abortion clinics.