New law doesn't stop Wake deputies from accepting woman's consular card
Posted October 30, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — One of the six people arrested Thursday outside the governor's mansion during a protest of a new state law affecting undocumented immigrants gave Wake County authorities her Mexican consular card despite a provision in the law that says such forms of identification are no longer valid in North Carolina.
House Bill 318, dubbed the Protect North Carolina Workers Act, also prohibits any North Carolina county or municipality from restricting local law enforcement's ability to cooperate with federal immigration officials, requires state and local government agencies to use the E-Verify system to check the legal status of job applicants and contractors and limits food assistance for able-bodied, childless adults who are unemployed.
Upset that Gov. Pat McCrory ignored their pleas to veto the bill in recent weeks and signed it into law on Wednesday, more than 100 people protested outside the Executive Mansion, and six people chained themselves together in the middle of Blount Street, forcing police to divert traffic for more than two hours.
Martha Iliana Santillian-Carril, 32, Angeline Marie Echeverria, 47, Ivanna Christina Gonzalez, 24, Nayely Irais Perez-Huerta, 28, David Salazar-Montalvo, 47, and Maria Carmen Rodriguez, 30, were arrested and charged with impeding traffic and resisting, delaying or obstructing officers.
Rodriguez, a mother of three who has lived and worked in Raleigh for the past decade, is in the U.S. illegally and readily told deputies of her immigration status when she was booked into the jail. She also provided her consular card when asked for identification.
The new law bars government agencies from using consular or embassy documents to verify someone's identity or residence, but a change to its provisions that was included in a "technical corrections" bill that passed at the close of the legislative session gave law enforcement discretion in whether to accept such documents for identification.
"Yes, she did have an ID from the consulate. Yes, it was accepted. We'll accept any ID," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "We're going to accept it because that's what you tell us your name is, but we're going to continue to investigate and go through the process."
Harrison says Rodriguez was questioned through the 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement officers trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain information about someone's immigration status, and her name was run through the ICE database.
Rodriguez and the other protesters were then released. Harrison said his deputies working in the 287(g) program focus on violent offenders, and Rodriguez wasn't flagged when her name was put in the database.
Harrison supports the new law, saying that, too many times, ID cards from a consulate aren't credible, which makes it difficult for his deputies to identify people.
"I wish there was a process where the undocumented could get some type of paper if they're going to work here, live here, be law-abiding citizens, to speed the process up. It would help us tremendously," he said.