Legislators Want to Make It Easier for Local Governments to Reject Refugees | Triangulator | Indy Week
Pin It

Legislators Want to Make It Easier for Local Governments to Reject Refugees 

Last week, while the state government remained engulfed in the dumpster fire known as HB 2, four Republican representatives quietly filed a bill to throw even more obstacles at refugees who want to resettle in North Carolina and the localities that want to take them in, while making it much easier for cities and counties to reject them.

HB 1086, the "Refugee Resettlement Act," is cosponsored by House Majority Leader Mike Hager and Representatives Chris Whitmire, John Torbett, and George Cleveland. It would allow local governments to request a "moratorium" on new refugees by passing a simple resolution stating that resettling refugees into their area would be bad. That request would then be forwarded to the North Carolina Refugee Assistance Program, which in turn would pass it to the feds.

click to enlarge syrian-girl-refugee-budapest-1210-690x353.jpg

Lifting such a moratorium or asking to settle additional refugees, however, would become a much more strenuous process. Localities would have to hold a public hearing, adopt a resolution, and get approval from the head of the NCRAP before proceeding.

"It's a shockingly high bar for municipalities to prove that they can take more refugees, and it's making it easy to say, 'We don't want them,'" says Representative Duane Hall, D-Wake. "This bill is driven by fear. It's xenophobic."

Of the four sponsors, only Torbett and Cleveland represent districts that have actually taken in refugees in this decade: one (!) refugee each for the cities of Gastonia (2012) and Jacksonville (2010), both well before the recent conservative consternation about Syrian refugees in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Of those two, Torbett has a long history of using his power to make it harder for immigrants to come to North Carolina.

As a Gaston County commissioner, Torbett sponsored a 2006 ordinance that stripped funding from all public programs aimed at helping undocumented immigrants adjust to life in the United States. The ordinance also ordered local law enforcement agencies to crack down on immigrants and partner with ICE in deportations.

In that legislation's text, Torbett blamed many of America's problems—"overcrowding in school classrooms, public parks, and recreation"; "creating havoc and death on our highways"; and a "lack of social and personal health care standards"—on the undocumented.

The next year, Torbett advocated against the county banking with Bank of America because of a pilot program that allowed people to obtain a credit card without a social security number. A county finance officer told the Gaston Gazette at the time that the decision would cost the city $31,000 per year.

Regardless, Torbett said, "We're not supporting a system that supports illegal immigrants."

Torbett did not respond to the INDY's request for comment.

triangulator@indyweek.com

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Triangulator



Twitter Activity

Comments

Andrews is the director of Church World Service, not Christian World Service. :)

by Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski on Triangle Refugee Resettlement Agencies Try to Figure Out How a Recent Supreme Court Ruling Will Affect Their Clients (Triangulator)

I'd take the 800 square foot studio for $500 a month, actually. As long as my neighbors are nice and …

by ammi on Capitol Broadcasting Wants Community Input on Its American Tobacco Campus Expansion. By God We're Going to Give It to Them. (Triangulator)

Most Recent Comments

Andrews is the director of Church World Service, not Christian World Service. :)

by Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski on Triangle Refugee Resettlement Agencies Try to Figure Out How a Recent Supreme Court Ruling Will Affect Their Clients (Triangulator)

I'd take the 800 square foot studio for $500 a month, actually. As long as my neighbors are nice and …

by ammi on Capitol Broadcasting Wants Community Input on Its American Tobacco Campus Expansion. By God We're Going to Give It to Them. (Triangulator)

I want to acknowledge how lucky Durham is to have such incredible leaders in the community as provided by the …

by duh on Capitol Broadcasting Wants Community Input on Its American Tobacco Campus Expansion. By God We're Going to Give It to Them. (Triangulator)

It's well and good for elected officials to state support for CACs after they voted May 2 to approve a …

by George Farthing on McFarlane’s Attempt to Overhaul CACs Might Be a Big Issue in Raleigh’s Mayor’s Race (Triangulator)

I don't understand the Perry Woods response. To say that Nancy McFarlane hasn't attended to basic concerns of the public …

by ct on McFarlane’s Attempt to Overhaul CACs Might Be a Big Issue in Raleigh’s Mayor’s Race (Triangulator)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation