Less than one hour into the filing period for Texas’ 2011 Legislative session, State Rep. Debbie Riddle filed a measure similar to that in Arizona which requires law enforcement officers to check an individual’s immigration status when enforcing other laws. The Arizona legislation is currently on hold until later this month when the federal government will argue that its federal immigration laws supplant those of the state. Riddle hopes the measure will help curb the growing number of Mexican and Latin American gang incidents across Texas.
With 13 states now supporting Arizona’s move to enforce existing immigration laws and a newly elected Republican majority in the North Carolina Legislature, the question arises as to whether Republican legislators will propose similar legislation in the 2011 Session.
A June 2010 Civitas poll revealed that 91 percent of voters rate the government’s enforcement of immigration as fair or poor while 64 percent said they support Arizona’s new law. Fifty-eight percent said they think North Carolina should enact a similar law.
While voters recognize that immigration enforcement should be handled by the federal government, they also see how badly such enforcement has failed and support Arizona handling the issue themselves. Will the North Carolina State Legislature heed the wishes of voters and file a measure to enforce illegal immigration laws in 2011?