South Carolina residents may have heard about the concept of sanctuary cities and how they relate to undocumented immigrants. Some U.S. cities have policies in place that ban local law enforcement from sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On Oct. 28, the governor of North Carolina signed a bill to prevent any cities in the state from instituting sanctuary policies.
As a result of the bill, local governments in North Carolina will not be allowed to instruct law enforcement to refrain from communicating with ICE or asking people about their immigration status. Further, government and police agencies will not be allowed to confirm people's identities with foreign IDs or IDs that are issued by local governments. State and local governments will also be required to contract with companies that check to make sure all of their workers have the legal right to work in the U.S.
Before the bill was signed, city officials in Greensboro were accepting IDs issued by FaithAction, a nonprofit group that issues IDs to undocumented immigrants. Greensboro has been forced to change its ID policy because of the bill, and the mayor said that she believes the legislation was aimed specifically at her city. Opponents of the new bill say that they are looking into repealing it.
An immigration attorney may be able to help undocumented immigrants to understand what rights they have when communicating with local law enforcement. If an undocumented immigrant is facing a deportation order, an attorney may be able to help to dispute the order. An attorney may also be able to assist a foreign-born individual with the process of applying for an immigrant visa or asylum.