The newly-appointed Mayor of Charlotte wants the city to issue IDs for residents, in a move that critics say will make the Queen City an attractive place for illegal immigrants.
You'll recall, Mayor Dan Clodfelter got the gig after Patrick Cannon resigned after an indictment on federal corruption charges.
Clodfelter was a long-time Democratic NC Senator, relegated to minority status in the General Assembly after the GOP took control in 2010.
Now, as Mayor, Clodfelter seems intent on extending the previously-lax North Carolina ID regulations to the City of Charlotte.
From the Charlotte Observer:
Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter met with the city’s Immigrant Integration Task Force last month and asked the group to research a city ID program that can be used by all citizens to access community services.
The task force was created to craft policies that will make Charlotte more welcoming to immigrants of all nationalities, particularly those interested in starting businesses.
First, the issue of illegal immigration has nothing to do with the nationalities of the immigrants. It has to do with the immigrants' unlawful entry.
This is a conflation of issues designed to cloud the argument.
That being said, illegal immigrants with American-born kids (along with illegal immigrant minors) are attending schools. However, the school system requires a background check of volunteers, and this prevents the illegal immigrant parents from participating in the education of their kids.
The City suggests a local ID would solve that problem. However, immigration activists aren't so sure:
Hector Vaca of the immigrant advocacy group ActionNC says he has doubts a city ID could be easily used for criminal background checks. To do that, he says the city would have to share ID card specifics with state and federal law enforcement databases – and that’s not necessarily something undocumented immigrants want to see happen.
ActionNC supports municipal IDs, he said, but is waiting to see what Charlotte leaders propose.
“This is another way to identify people, which is something even the police have said would be a good thing,” Vaca said. “I think it’s contradictory when anti-immigrant groups say we need to better identify the people who are in this country, and yet when you give them another tool that helps identify people, those critics say they don’t want it.”
Of course, Mr. Vaca ignores the reason why folks want to identify people who are in the country illegally. It's to punish them. To hold them responsible for violating the law.
The 287(g) program does that.
But immigration activist groups oppose it.
Obviously, an ID will make it easier for illegal immigrants to live and work in Charlotte.
But is that what the City should be doing?
And if the Charlotte sets this example, will other cities - like Asheville - follow suit?