Action Alert: “Show Me Your Papers” Bill Threatens Community Safety

Yesterday, the N.C. House approved a bill that strips local authority from sheriffs’ departments by requiring them to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and assist in enforcing federal immigration law.

The legislation now goes before Gov. Roy Cooper for consideration after the N.C. Senate passed the bill in June.

House Bill 370, the “Show Me Your Papers” law, would require all N.C. sheriffs and jails to comply with immigration detainer requests made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, even though these detainer requests are not considered valid warrants, which means sheriffs should have full discretion within their local authority to not recognize them.

The bill also requires police to determine the immigration status of any person arrested for a criminal charge and to notify ICE if the person is not a legal resident or citizen and forces jails to wait for federal approval before releasing an individual being held, even if the person is eligible for release under North Carolina law.

It would allow anyone to sue their local government if they believe it is not cooperating with immigration enforcement activities or breaking state law related to immigration.

HB370 is a direct response to local sheriffs across North Carolina, including Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden, choosing to end federal 287(g) programs in their counties, which ended the requirement of local law enforcement to cooperate with and assist ICE in detaining undocumented residents.

Mecklenburg County participated in 287(g) for 12 years. During that time, the program diverted our local public safety resources away from protecting our community toward carrying out federal immigration enforcement policies.

Instead of addressing and preventing violent crime, the program incentivized local law enforcement officials to actively seek out undocumented residents with no criminal history through procedures that border on racial profiling and erode trust in the immigrant community.

Mecklenburg County Sherriff Gary McFadden was elected to office on a wave of local support for ending the 287(g) program.

Now the N.C. General Assembly is trying to override the will of Mecklenburg County voters to assert its own control over how our local law enforcement officials do their jobs.

Is this the best use of tax-payer dollars to keep our community safe? We don’t think so.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy believes this bill is a detriment to community safety, local autonomy and family unity for all Mecklenburg County residents.

We urge Governor Roy Cooper to veto this legislation.

287(g) facilitated thousands of deportations by arresting individuals for minor traffic infractions or misdemeanors. This practice has torn families apart, made immigrants vulnerable targets for exploitation and eroded the trust of law enforcement in the immigrant community.

None of these ramifications made our community safer and neither does a systematic dragnet that targets communities of color. Instead, it forces people to withdraw from their communities, from working, attending school, seeking medical care and reporting crime out of fear.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy continues to stand with our immigrant neighbors, advocating for inclusion and fairness under the law to ensure their safety, security and stability in our community.

What you can do

Contact Gov. Roy Cooper’s office by phone
(919) 814-2000 or email or sign this petition to express your concern for HB370 and call on him to veto the legislation.

Our community deserves safety, local autonomy and protected family unity.

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Action Alert: Let’s Give N.C. A Second Chance

For people with a criminal record, second chances are hard to come by.

But the N.C. General Assembly can change that narrative for more than 2 million North Carolinians living with criminal records.

The N.C. Senate unanimously passed The Second Chance Act (Senate Bill 562)earlier this month. The bipartisan legislation, which is now before the N.C. House, would expand eligibility for expungements, a court process that seals criminal records from public view.

“Our neighbors deserve second chances, and our community will be made stronger if we grant them.” 

Natalia Botella, attorney, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy



Why this matters

1 in 4 Americans has a criminal record, including 2 million+ North Carolinians These individuals spend YEARS trying to overcome past mistakes to lead productive lives as law abiding citizens.

Criminal records are barriers to jobs, housing, and opportunity because criminal background checks and stigma automatically exclude where people can live and work, even if an offense is a misdemeanor.

If our community is serious about addressing equity and access to opportunity, we must expand eligibility for expungements. Currently, more than 90 percent of expungements granted are for charges that never resulted in a conviction. 

Expungements expand access to a wider range of jobs and higher wages, which reduces the likelihood to turn to crime out of desperation.

N.C. will gain more tax revenue, make communities safer and reduce the costs of a revolving door criminal justice system.

What the legislation does

Automatic Relief: The Act would automatically expunge criminal charges that have been dismissed or disposed of as “not guilty” after July 1, 2020.

Expands Eligibility: It would also allow people to petition to have certain non-violent convictions expunged after 5- or 10-years good behavior, depending on the offense.

Relief for Juvenile Offenders: The Act would allow people with eligible convictions that occurred when a person was 16 or 17 years old prior to Dec. 1, 2019 to petition for an expungement, giving them the same rights as juveniles protected under the “Raise the Age” law.

Gives Prosecutors Discretion to Initiate Relief: Under the proposal, district attorneys would have the option to initiate certain expungement petitions, without relying on the individual to start the process.

What you can do

Thank your N.C. Senators! Contact your Senators and The Second Chance Act’s primary sponsors, Sen. Danny BrittSen. Warren Daniel and Sen. Floyd McKissick.

Tell your Representatives in the N.C. House to pass legislation that expands eligibility for expungements.

Learn about us. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s expungement project for ex-offenders opens the doors of opportunity for hundreds of Mecklenburg County residents. 

Share this message with your networks.

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