Immigration issues are at the forefront of the American political discussion at the moment. This is an election year, and some voters will undoubtedly be affected by the candidates' stances on immigration law. Immigration policies will affect North Carolina significantly. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, our state is home to approximately 325,000 "unauthorized immigrants," a category that the Center has created for immigrants born outside the U.S. but who do not fall under the heading "undocumented immigrants."
Already immigrants in North Carolina are demonstrating their resolve. This past week, a number of immigrants engaged in one of the most time-honored American traditions: political protest. They marched on a General Assembly meeting to oppose stricter immigration measures that the lawmakers were considering. They responded strongly when a legislator asserted that immigrants without papers were responsible for crimes involving guns and drugs.
Police charged three of the protesters with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor offense, and took them into custody. In accordance with immigration law, the jail examined their immigration records. The jail then contacted ICE and informed the agency whether the three were citizens of the United States.
It appears that the three protesters did not have U.S. citizenship, but ICE has stated that two of them will not undergo deportation because they do not have a prior criminal record. This is in line with the government's newly articulated policy of only pursuing deportation against illegal immigrants with criminal records. The third protester, however, does have a criminal record and could face deportation proceedings.
Source: Fox News Latino, "Undocumented Protesters in North Carolina Will Not Be Deported," Mar. 2, 2012.