When it comes to illegal immigration, N.C. Democrats often appear to side more with Republicans than their own party.
The N.C. Democratic Party is paying for a mailer in a state Senate race that calls for "bringing the Arizona immigration crackdown to North Carolina."
Our friends over at the News & Observer report that the mailer was sent on behalf of Senate candidate David Redwine of Shallotte (photo, left), who is in a hot campaign with Republican Bill Rabon of Southport for the seat held by retiring Sen. R.C. Soles.
The mailer reflects another example of how dicey the immigration issue is for Southern Democrats. While the views of urban Democrats are more in line with President Obama, rural Democrats must cater to a more conservative constituency that sees immigrants as competitors for jobs.
I reported last year that polls showed illegal immigration as one of the top concerns among N.C. voters. North Carolina has an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants.
While U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, a Charlotte Democrat, said at the time that he supports working toward a comprehensive bill that puts undocumented immigrants on a path toward legalization, other Carolinas Democrats in Congress hold positions more like Republicans.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, says she supports comprehensive reform, but has also said she "strongly opposes amnesty" and called illegal immigration "a threat to our nation's security and economy."
U.S. Rep Heath Shuler introduced a bill last year that would require employers to enter a federal program, known as E-Verify, that checks if workers are in the country legally.
U.S. Rep Kissell, whose 8th District includes parts of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union counties, joined Shuler when he introduced his E-Verify bill. He said last year that people he speaks with repeatedly question " 'What part of illegal don't we understand?' "
Andrew Whalen, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said the crackdown mailing reflected the views of Redwine, not the party, according to the News & Observer.
"I think the mail piece specifically is a plank in David Redwine's platform on which he is running for the Senate," Whalen said. "There are many viewpoints and many different candidates in the Democratic Party."
The mailer features a photograph of Redwine, a former state House leader, outside a prison talking with a prison guard. The headline reads: "David Redwine wants to throw the book at CEOs who just won't quit hiring illegal immigrants."
In the mailer, Redwine calls for new fines on corporations that knowingly hire illegal immigrants and jail time for CEOs who are repeat offenders.