The government of Mexico has issued a statement of disappointment in reaction to a law recently signed by Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina. The new law is entitled the “Protect North Carolina Workers Act of 2015,” and it includes several provisions that have been sharply criticized by immigration activists as being reactionary, insensitive, and prejudiced.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Mexico laments the decision taken by the North Carolina legislature to no longer accept a document known in Spanish as “matricula consular” (consular registration). This document is often issued by Mexican embassies and consulates around the world for the purpose of identifying citizens abroad. When Governor McCrory signed the bill into law in late October, he explained that the act seeks to avoid the creation of sanctuary cities in North Carolina.
In the United States, a sanctuary city is a municipality that does not cooperate with overzealous law enforcement and prosecution of immigrants. Whether by adopted practice or by municipal code, sanctuary cities instruct their police departments to accept documents such as the Mexican consular registration as valid forms of identification. Furthermore, officers are instructed that they should not provide information to federal agents who actively track down undocumented immigrants.
Mexican nationals residing in North Carolina can still obtain passports from consulates in that state. The Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs plans to conduct an outreach campaign to inform Mexican immigrants in North Carolina about their rights under the new law. In general, Mexican immigrants who only carry their consular registration document could be questioned and detained by state or county law enforcement agents in North Carolina, and federal agents may be notified of their presence.
Those who oppose the new law in North Carolina have vowed to lobby against it in the next few months and to challenge its validity in court. In the meantime, undocumented Mexican immigrants in North Carolina are advised to consult an immigration attorney for the purpose of determining the course of action they should take. Undocumented immigrants are often not aware of amnesty programs and protective legal measures that can alleviate their situations in the United States.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about immigration services or the naturalization process, call KS Visa Law at (858) 874-0711 and schedule a free immigration consultation in San Diego.