North Carolina, Raleigh - Just as North Carolina faces a crippling labor shortage, state legislators are weighing two anti-immigrant measures that will push undocumented workers further into the shadows.
House Bill 867 would reclassify some full-time independent contractors as employees, forcing many undocumented workers to provide documentation and go through E-Verify.
This would drastically reduce their work opportunities and force some to leave jobs they’ve been doing for years, including in construction and the service industry — two fields facing major labor shortages.
Overall, our state’s shrinking labor pool is expected to lead to poor economic growth.
Chilling effect on the economy
The legislature is also expected to once again take up Senate Bill 101, known as “Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0.” Such laws hurt the state.
They deter undocumented people, including crime victims and witnesses, from having any interaction with law enforcement.
They divert police resources and attention away from violent crime, and have a significant chilling effect on the economy as workers and businesses choose to move elsewhere.
This is precisely what happened in Arizona after the state passed a similar, now defunct, law. And it’s why our state defeated a similar bill in 2019.
7,7 billion in taxes in 2019
There are over 865,000 immigrants in N.C., according to the nonprofit New American Economy.
Over, 300,000 are undocumented. Together our households earned $29.2 billion and paid $7.7 billion in taxes in 2019.
These workers provide significant manpower in important industries like construction, manufacturing, agriculture and personal care services.
North Carolina politicians need to wake up. The state is changing, and anti-immigrant policies can’t stop that.
Building barriers and adding new restrictions will only hurt us all in the long run. Instead, we need to expand access to jobs, education and health care so that all residents can work hard and provide for their families without fear.