Group gathers to protest House Bill 318 in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- More than 100 people joined together Wednesday to fight back against a bill community leaders say will devastate the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants and people who live in poverty across the state.

Greensboro city leaders, residents, and more than a dozen Civil Rights’ advocates spoke out against House Bill 318 at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

"This is an act of hypocrisy,” said Michelle Kennedy, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro. “This is a disgrace towards people living in poverty and those struggling to get back on their feet."

The bill bans residents from using non-government ID cards and prohibits the creation of sanctuary cities in the state.

Demonstrators say taking away ID cards would hurt thousands of undocumented immigrants who can't get a driver's license or other state-issued ID’s.

"We're tired,” said Jessica Contreras, a student who lives in Charlotte. “We're tired of having to live with fear and live in the shadows, and we want to be able to live in a community that welcomes us."

The bill also limits food stamps for single people without children who are unemployed to three months of benefits every three years.

Under the bill, a person would have to work at least 20 hours a week, complete 20 hours of community service a week, or be in school to continue receiving food stamps.

Homeless advocates say this will hurt thousands of people struggling to find work or who are underemployed.

"How can they go look for a job when they are hungry?" asked Greensboro City Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter.

Ricky Diaz, the senior advisor to the North Carolina Republican Party, says the bill is a reflection of the state's economy bouncing back.

"The unemployment rate is dropping in every county,” Diaz said. “We have a governor who is focused on creating a re-employment system and getting people off unemployment and into jobs."

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