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NC House immigration panel hears from employers

Posted February 29, 2012

— North Carolina lawmakers considering what the state can do to clamp down on illegal immigration heard Wednesday from businesses that seek out cheap labor, and also got an earful from protesters who said they're in the country illegally.

The state House committee's meeting was disrupted near the end by a handful of young Hispanics wearing T-shirts saying "Undocumented and Unafraid." They shouted their opposition after Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, decried illegal immigrants as the source of drug and gun crime.

Three people were arrested and taken to the Wake County jail, General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver said. 

Uriel Alberto, Estephania Mijangos-Lopez and Cynthia Martinez, who are members of the pro-immigrant group N.C. Dream and say they are undocumented, were charged with disorderly conduct. 

Viridiana Martinez, 25, of Raleigh said she's lived illegally in North Carolina since her parents brought her to the state at age 7. She noted that the 12-member House Select Committee on the State's Role in Immigration Policy is stocked with some of the chamber's most ardent backers of state action to crack down on illegal immigrants.

"That says to me that these folks are out to come after us. They're going to do whatever it takes to make the situation as terrible as possible right here in our home to make us leavem" said Martinez, a freelance interpreter. "We're not going to remain quiet about it."

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates North Carolina ranks ninth in population among the states with what it calls 325,000 unauthorized immigrants, defined as foreign-born citizens of other countries who aren't legal immigrants.

The committee also heard from representatives of the home building, construction and farming industries. North Carolina Home Builders Association lobbyist Lisa Martin said her group supported Congress, not states, addressing immigration. While government should back training and retraining programs for the construction trades, "the homebuilding industry needs a strong and ready workforce," she said.

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  • fbronson7 Mar 7, 7:57 p.m.

    Knowing you are hiring an hispanic here illegally is not only a crime according to Title 8 of the US Code, but is under minding our future. It could be considered economic terrorism, and does far more damage then any bomb could.

  • fbronson7 Mar 1, 7:17 p.m.

    What part of being here illegally for what ever reason is right, and how do Americans owe these illegals any thing??? If they are such good people they would go back to where they are from and try to enter legally, but only after paying back all monies they collected, and pay back all medicaid payments they used

  • barbstillkickin Mar 1, 2:32 p.m.

    Sometimes I wish I was an illegal in this country. I am handicapped and over 55 but I still have to pay for all my meds and my home and taxes and everything else all Americans pay for. My neighbor who is Illegal got his house and has free insurance and gets food stamps and works for these contractors making twice what I use to earn and we still keep giving his family free stuff. I get nothing. I can not even get any help to purchase a van so I can leave my home. I sit here as a prisoner while they get all our tax money and you think for one second I want to see them be allowed to stay here. GET OUT YOU DO NOT BELONG.

  • driverkid3 Mar 1, 2:11 p.m.

    whatelseisnew, with all the fake documentation going around, I cannot trust that any of them are legal. I'm going to be on the safe side and not deal with any company that hires them.

  • superman Mar 1, 9:34 a.m.

    We make the situation worse when we do business with people who hire these illegals. Wonder how many of them work in fast food? We want cheap labor and cheap work and then we complain about the illegals. You cant have it both ways. People should prove that they are "legal" before we sell them houses, rent apartments, sell them cars.

  • dwg0325 Mar 1, 9:12 a.m.

    Round them up and deport them...get in line if you want to be a citizen.

    My parents did it. You can too

  • muggs Mar 1, 8:27 a.m.

    Having E-Mailed both Sen. Burr and Sen. Hagan and asking them or their staff to just look up this site to see how many of us feel might prove to be a gesture of futility but trying something is better than nothing,there is no middle ground for this issue and these political leaders need to say which side of the fence their on,no more beating around the bush,if they want to decriminalize illegals then they need to be voted out of office,which party makes no difference.

  • oleguy Feb 29, 7:57 p.m.

    A woman where I worked Had 3 names and 3 SS numbers

  • oleguy Feb 29, 7:55 p.m.

    "Undocumented and Unafraid,,,
    What does that tell you folks, we have lost this war,,

  • WooHoo2You Feb 29, 7:55 p.m.

    The behavior of our Federal Government is leading this country into anarchy.-whatelseisnew

    By deporting RECORD numbers of illegals under Obama?

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