GREENSBORO — An email from Gov. Pat McCrory’s office to leaders in the immigrant community is being dismissed as “damage control” after the signing of a controversial bill.
Last week, McCrory came to Greensboro to sign N.C. House Bill 318 — the Protect North Carolina Workers Act — into law.
Among other provisions, the law prevents cities from accepting any identification not issued by a government agency.
The choice of Greensboro for the signing was seen by many as a swipe at both the city and its immigrant community. Greensboro was one of the first cities to accept IDs created by the local nonprofit FaithAction, allowing undocumented immigrants to do things like open accounts at the water department and get library cards.
McCrory has faced protests in the wake of the signing.
This week, an email from the governor’s office to immigrant advocates surfaced. The letter acknowledges “fear and concern in the Latino community” regarding the new law and explains and justifies its various pieces.
“We believe it is essential that everyone clearly understand the bill, rather than through speculation and rumor,” the letter reads. “We have decided we would provide actual facts about the bill that other outlets may be misinterpreting and creating an atmosphere of fear to our immigrant communities.”
Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter said the email comes too late.
“It’s strange that they’re concerned now about how angry the immigrant community is and people who care about the immigrant community,” Abuzuaiter said. “Maybe they should have thought about that when they were writing the law.”
Addy Jeffrey, a local advocate for the Latino community, said the email seemed to her like “pure damage control.”
“It’s interesting that they direct it at the Latino community when it’s not an issue that only affects the Latino community,” Jeffrey said. “There are a lot of people who are angry about this. And they aren’t upset because they thought they weren’t going to be able to use their passports.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the letter seemed confusing and condescending.
“But I think the fact that they sent the letter at all shows that it was good that the City Council voted to oppose the bill,” Vaughan said. “Obviously, our opposing it drew attention to the problems with the law and now they’re trying to explain themselves.”
Contact Joe Killian at (336) 373-7023, and follow @JoekillianNR on Twitter.