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NC bill withholds state funding from immigration sanctuary cities

A bill introduced in the North Carolina Senate this week promises to withhold money from cities, universities and law enforcement if they violate or ignore state and federal immigration laws.

The bill would take away state funding for city streets, revenue from beer and wine taxes and revenue from other sales tax if a city acts as a “sanctuary city.”

It also threatens to remove state funding not earmarked for specific purposes from public universities that offer sanctuary.

Senate Leader Phil Berger said in a press release, “officials in the cities of Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Durham have made public statements casting doubt on their willingness to abide by the law.”

Winston-Salem City Council member Dan Besse says the council has not discussed becoming a sanctuary city, instead they are looking at a resolution to become a “welcoming city.”

“The intent of my resolution is to make clear that Winston Salem is a welcoming community for newcomers including immigrants and refugees that we are a diverse community and draw strength from that diversity,” Besse said.

The bill also prohibits using “community IDs” like the FaithAction ID distributed by Greensboro’s FaithAction International House.

“This is the third year that some folks in the state government are going after this program and quite frankly I think it's a waste of time,” said Reverend David Fraccaro, the program’s executive director.

Fraccaro says the ID is a way for people including the homeless, elderly, refugees and immigrants, who can’t get government-issued identification.

“It is simply a tool that law enforcement, as well as health centers, businesses can better use to identify, serve and protect our diverse residents,” Fraccaro said.

FaithAction International House has distributed more than 7,500 FaithAction IDs in the last four years.

Proponents of the bill say the IDs can be misleading to law enforcement.

Some Triad-area agencies have publicly supported the program in the past, including the Greensboro Police Department.