A special legislative committee responsible for examining North Carolina’s immigration policies has decided not to recommend any new legislation until later this year.
Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, said the N.C. House of Representatives select committee will wait to hear how the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer on immigration legislation passed by other states.
“That way we can make recommendations to the assembly that will keep us, as a state, out of federal court while also offering approaches from other states,” he said.
The committee is responsible for looking at how the state should address immigration and must decide by December if it will make a recommendation to the N.C. General Assembly, said committee co-chairman Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick.
“We plan to do something very deliberate,” he said. “We have the option of recommending legislation or not offering legislation.”
Warren, who is co-chairman of the committee, said members met for the fourth time last week and took comments from the public.
He said waiting to make a recommendation would also allow members of the committee more time to consider the comments they heard last week.
Iler said waiting until after the Supreme Court’s decisions will give the committee more guidance when reviewing the state’s role on immigration.
“It will tell us a lot of what states can do,” he said. “It will keep us from being involved in litigation in courts.”
Iler said the committee will have at least two more meetings after the Supreme Court’s decisions before it decides what to do.
The state legislature is also supposed to have a short session starting in May, which is expected to last six weeks and end in June, Warren said.
“We are scheduled to have publicly one of the shortest sessions in the history of the state,” he said.
“That is an extremely short period of time to address a topic like immigration.”
Warren said legislators will have more time for debate when they return in the fall.
Domenic Powell, who was at the hearing last week, said the committee should have decided earlier to postpone their recommendation.
“As far as the decision to wait, this is something they could’ve done months ago,” he said. “This is information they should have gathered before having North Carolinians finance their witch hunt.”
Powell, who graduated from UNC in 2010, is part of We Are NC, a coalition that promotes immigration in the state.
“We are gong to continue to speak to the community and try to clear up a lot of misconceptions about immigrants and what immigrants mean for North Carolina,” he said.
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