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New immigration laws will wait for now in North Carolina

The North Carolina General Assembly has turned its attention to immigration recently, but aside from bills already under consideration, the legislative body will refrain in the short term from creating any new laws affecting immigration. The reason is that it does not want to enact legislation that could be invalidated after the Supreme Court rules on current challenges to other states' immigration rules.

In addition, legislators expressed their doubts that they could adequately address all of the immigration issues during the General Assembly's brief session this coming May. The next time the state's legislators attempt to create any large-scale immigration laws will likely be after this year.

But that does not mean that the General Assembly is completely inactive on immigration matters. On the contrary, last month a legislative committee held a hearing where people could voice their opinion on the state of immigration policy in North Carolina. Thirty-five people spoke before the committee, including supporters of immigration reform and proponents of stricter immigration policy.

Two of the bills currently under consideration at the General Assembly would make life more difficult for immigrants in the state. One would buttress current law that precludes government aid from being distributed to illegal immigrants. The other would narrow the range of papers considered as legal proof of identification.

The Supreme Court's important ruling is not expected until early this summer. It has the potential to affect legislative positions on immigration here in North Carolina and across the country. Members of the General Assembly indicated that they would use the Supreme Court's decision to help craft future legislation.

Source: The News & Observer, "N.C. lawmakers delay major immigration legislation," John Frank, Mar. 29, 2012.

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