The move adds North Carolina to a list of some 20 states reportedly considering introducing bills similar to Arizona's controversial law. Recent polls show that more than 60 percent of Americans support the law.
Senator Don East, a Surry Republican, introduced his resolution, S1349, this week to consider legislation that requires immigrants carry identification that proves they’re in the country legally. Twelve Republican senators, including Senator Bob Rucho of Matthews and Austin M. Allran of Hickory, have signed on to co-sponsor the resolution.
East, a retired police officer, told the Mount Airy News he introduced the resolution because he wants to make sure the federal immigration laws are obeyed in North Carolina.
“If the federal government’s not going to follow the federal statute, let the states do it,” he told the newspaper.
An estimated 350,000 illegal immigrants live in North Carolina and 70,000 in South Carolina.
Legislators in South Carolina introduced similar resolution that would direct state law enforcement to check the legal status of people they suspect to be in the country illegally.
At least 20 other states are considering following Arizona and proposing similar legislation, according to the Immigration Policy Center.
With federal legislation stalled in Washington, state legislatures are tackling immigration issues at an unprecedented rate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In the first quarter of this year, state legislators in 45 states had introduced 1,180 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees, according to NCSL. As of March 31, 2010, 34 state legislatures had passed 107 laws and adopted 87 resolutions; 38 bills were pending signatures on governors’ desks.