The law, passed in October, bars the use of the matricula consular as a valid form of identification, often used by undocumented immigrants for minor traffic violations or hiring processes. A result of the law is that undocumented people can be deported for a minor traffic infraction, undocumented resident Carmen Rodriquez told the crowd in front of the legislature through a translator.
Rodriquez said HB 318 has caused undocumented immigrants to live with an ever-present fear of deportation. She also condemned the law for exploiting migrant laborers and shielding the agricultural sector from fair labor laws.
“We make America great,” she said. “I live day after day with the consequences of the policy of a government that doesn’t want us, but still wants to use us to take advantage of our labor without recognizing our rights ... No papers, no fear!”
Raleigh resident Brandon Norwood said he was protesting on behalf of his neighbor who was recently deported, leaving behind his wife and son.
Others emphasized the intersection of issues like immigration reform and worker’s rights, race, LGBTQ rights and voting rights.
Lia Kaz, from Asheville, said merging these issues could give power back to the people.
“The protest is changing the moral consciousness of the state and it’s a leader for the South, as well as the rest of the country. Moral marches have been as far north as Connecticut and it’s really changing the way communities work together instead of against each for social progress,” she said.
UNC sophomore Riley Foster said engaging in state politics will be crucial to reform immigration laws and improve worker’s rights.
“North Carolina and the United States — especially the South — have a history of systemically impoverishing minority individuals specifically,” Foster said.
The march was an opportunity for constituents to voice their priorities before the General Assembly, she said.
“Advocating, getting involved in the politics of the state is really important going forward to some of the issues we believe in.”