Immigration Reform Getting Nearer In North Carolina


Immigration reform is inexorably

inching into politics
. Just look at the candidates
running strong campaigns for federal and state office by
promoting major changes to the immigration status quo.

North Carolina,

overwhelmed
by illegal aliens, has two stalwart
candidates.


Republican State Senator Fern Shubert
is one of five
gubernatorial primary candidates on the July 20th 
 ballot vying for the chance to unseat incumbent
Democrat Governor Michael Easley in November.

And running for Congress in North
Carolina`s 5th District is the senior
Republican from the Winston-Salem City Council,

Vernon Robinson,
a

conservative black.

Shubert, endorsed by of the

9-11 Families for a Secure America
has made a key
talking point out of the continued ease with which
illegal aliens can get North Carolina driver`s licenses.

Shubert tells me that, despite
claims from Easley that driver`s license requirements
have been tightened by a February directive from his
office, the opposite is true.

Here according to Shubert, is the
recent history of North Carolina driver`s license
requirements:

“Prior
to 9-11, North Carolina law said that license applicants
must provide a social security number and proof of
residence, but the Attorney General`s office (the
position was then held by Easley) told DMV to ignore the
law. Some of us tried to tighten up the rules for issuing
licenses. Instead,

right after 9-11,
the Democrats put language in
the budget that actually made the law worse than it was
before 9-11.

“Before
9-11, aliens couldn`t use a

Taxpayer Identification Number
to get a license but
S1005 made that legal. Before 9-11,

matricula
cards weren`t mentioned in the law.
S1005 said the matricula was

`a
reasonably reliable`
indicator of
residence and included it with the other proofs that were
acceptable.

“Most
bizarre of all, S1005 added a provision that required the
department to permit any applicant who had NO proof of
residence to sign an affidavit and use that as proof of
residence. DMV will give any applicant an affidavit to
sign on the spot."
 


Peter Gadiel,
speaking on behalf of the 9-11
Families, said that Shubert won the group`s support
because she is the only candidate running on a strong
immigration reform platform. Shubert, in addition to her
efforts to expose driver`s license fraud, is speaking out
to raise awareness among citizens that

illegal immigration
directly impacts

jobs and wages.

Disappointingly but not
surprisingly, the major state`s major dailies, the
Charlotte Observer
(Contact Chairman and Publisher
Pete Ridder at

pridder@charlotteobserver.com
) and the News and
Observer
(contact editor

jruffin@newsobserver.com
and political reporter Lynn
Bonner at

lbonner@newsobserver.com
) give Shubert scant
coverage.

“I don`t
expect things to really heat up until after July 4th,”

Shubert said. “But it would be nice if the

press
got involved in some meaningful way. How can
the press claim to report when it

doesn`t report
the most important issue—illegal
immigration—in North Carolina? And the truth is that
Easley has never worked to make North Carolina safe from
illegal immigration`s many threats. I will.”

One of Shubert`s many admirers is
Vernon Robinson, also a primary candidate on July 20th.
“Shubert is a great American,” Robinson told me.

Like Shubert, Robinson has the
backing of powerful immigration reform forces. The most
prominent is Colorado Republican

Tom Tancredo,
the Chairman of the

Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.
 

Tancredo considers Robinson`s
election to Congress to be so important that he is
spending June 6, 7 and 8 in North Carolina appearing at
“Immigration Town Hall” meetings. They will speak
at eight events in eight cities over the three days.

“For a Congressman to spend three
days helping out a candidate is unheard of,”
Robinson
said during my interview with him. “Usually, they just
fly in and fly out.”

Robinson has North Carolina buzzing
about his aggressive position on illegal immigration. In
a 60-second radio ad that focused on illegal aliens from
Mexico, Robinson put forward his feelings.

An announcer reads while the theme
of “The Twilight Zone” plays in the background:

“The
aliens are here, but they didn`t come in a spaceship.
They`ve filled our criminal courtrooms and

clogged our schools …
They sponge off the American
taxpayer … they`ve even taken over the
DMV
. These aliens commit

heinous crimes
… You walk into a McDonald`s
restaurant to order a Big Mac, and find to your horror
that the

employees don`t speak English.”

To hammer Robinson`s point home, the
ad`s disclaimer was made in Spanish: “Yo, gringo.
Robinson por congreso.”
 
(Spanish
Disclaimer Doesn`t Fly
, By
Lynn Bonner and Dan
Kane, Charlotte New-Observer, Jun 2, 2004)


WSJS AM
, the largest conservative talk station in the

Winston-Salem
area, pulled the ads because, according
to the station`s senior vice president and marketing
manager Tom Hamilton none of his mostly English-speaking
listeners could understand it—and perhaps worried about
its meaning. (Note: the station pulled all the other
candidates` ads, apparently out of a sense of fair play.)

“That,” Robinson told me,
“makes my point exactly. By airing a

Spanish language ad,
we highlighted the fact that 90
percent-plus … of the primary electorate couldn`t
understand it. Our ad proves that English must be the

official language
of the United States.”

Robinson likes to summarize his
position on illegal immigration this way:

 “These people all have

homes
. We need to help them

go home.”

I spoke with Ron Woodward of the
activist group

NCListen
  about the reaction in North Carolina to the
vigorous immigration reform platforms set forth by
Shubert and Robinson.

Woodward said:

“There is no question
that immigration reform resonates in North Carolina.
Remember the Raleigh News and Observer poll in
November 2003 that showed that 73% of all residents think
illegal aliens even if working should be deported? That
percentage may even be higher today.  Fern Shubert and
Vernon Robinson are doing outstanding jobs of getting the
message out to the voters and showing them how unchecked
immigration adversely effects all aspects of life in
North Carolina.”

Right now, Shubert in the middle of the pack; Robinson
is given a good chance to win. But the real point is that
the

issue of immigration
is finally being raised.

In an interesting side bar, both
Shubert and Robinson told me that they felt the White
House`s foolish

amnesty/guest worker plan
would come back to haunt
Bush in November.

As Shubert and Robinson travel
across North Carolina, both see an erosion of support for
Bush compared to

2000
.

Now if only Bush could read the same
tea leaves regarding illegal immigration that Shubert
and Robinson have, the president just might be able to
hang on in November.

But if Bush doesn`t make a public
statement backing off amnesty, he may be writing his
presidential memoir four years earlier than he
anticipated.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.