Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes anti-immigrant bill, saying it uses ‘fear to divide North Carolinians’

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes anti-immigrant bill, saying it uses ‘fear to divide North Carolinians’

July 14, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

“SB 101 was an effort to rally anti-immigrant sentiment before the next election,” said El Pueblo Executive Director Iliana Santillian in a Spanish-language statement. The organization had previously noted that lawmakers had rushed the bill, showing “how quick our representatives are to move bills when it is convenient to them politically.” But “our community was, and is always, ready to mobilize and speak out,” El Pueblo said at the time.

”We are grateful to our community for fighting this anti-immigrant bill, the defeat of SB 101 happened thanks to the efforts of the community,” Santillian continued.

“Once again, I applaud Governor Cooper on the veto of Senate Bill 101,” said Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden. He said that like its 2019 iteration, the bill was “unconstitutional and only encourages distrust. It would remove the authority of sheriffs in North Carolina to make discretionary decisions that all Sheriffs are elected to make on behalf of their constituents.”

“It remains my belief that Mecklenburg County is a safer community when all members of our community are able to assist law enforcement with investigations and report criminal activity without fear of repercussions so severe as deportation,” McFadden continued. The sheriff campaigned, and won, on ending the department’s 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is a racist and harmful policy that deputizes local police to act as deportation agents, and has resulted in “widespread” racial profiling, according to the Justice Department.

Other advocates said that “[a]t a time when some Democrats are running away from immigration, Governor Cooper’s veto is a model of how Democrats should stand for their values by leaning in on smart policy.”

“Too often these days, elected Democrats in tough states and districts retreat from contested and controversial immigration debates,” said America’s Voice Campaign Director Mario Carrillo. “Or, they bow to the framing of GOP hardliners and the media ecosystem that supports them.” In just one example, a small group of Senate Democrats have joined Republicans in trying to continue Stephen Miller’s anti-asylum Title 42 order indefinitely. “Governor Cooper’s example stands in stark contrast.”

“Here we have a southern state and a Democratic governor facing a GOP attempt to divide Democrats, compel bad policy, and demonize immigrants as threats,” Carrillo continued. “In response, Governor Cooper stands tall, leans in with courage and conviction, and calls out the GOP’s game. He didn’t and he doesn’t take the bait.” Carrillo in the statement acknowledged the hard work of immigration advocates in the state, “whose advocacy, messaging, organizing and energy helped define this harmful bill and encourage the governor’s veto.”

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