In the final hours of the 2015 legislative session, the NC House of Representatives passed House Bill 318, a measure that would prohibit communities from being so-called “sanctuaries” for people living in this country illegally and would limit the forms of acceptable personal identification people are able to use. The bill, which was approved by the Senate in a 70-43 vote, takes away local jurisdictions’ rights to determine how they practice community policing and creates distrust between police and the community they serve. This type of legislation creates a hostile environment, leading to discrimination and racial profiling for all immigrants and people of color, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.
As a person of faith living in North Carolina, I believe that the Gospel calls us to welcome that stranger and offer hospitality and justice to the migrant and refugee. As such, I believe that Gov. McCrory should veto H.B. 318, which goes directly against the Christian faith tradition’s call to welcome and love our neighbors. Last week, we were reminded of this with the historic visit of Pope Francis, during which he preached love and compassion for our immigrant brothers and sisters, asking us to see them as people rather than as numbers. However, while the rest of the country celebrated with the Pope a message about mercy and resisting division, our legislators chose to disgrace North Carolina’s reputation nationally and put us on a dangerous path to deliberate racial profiling and exclusion.
For the sake of community well-being and the public safety of all North Carolinians, I pray that the heart and mind of Gov. McCrory will be softened in order to put a halt to this intolerant, hostile and extremist legislation. This past week, I stood at the State Capitol, united with our immigrant sisters and brothers and other advocacy groups, to call on Gov. McCrory to show meaningful leadership to all North Carolinians, by vetoing this mean-spirited and ill-advised bill. Thank you to everyone who has calls to their elected officials this past week and attended the rallies and press conferences throughout the state. Please continue to call Gov. McCrory at 1-855-336-0916 and ask him to search his heart for compassion and justice, which will lead him to veto this harmful and potentially destructive legislation.