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NC Republicans sign name to immigration overhaul effort

A handful of prominent North Carolina business leaders and lawmakers are joining a national effort to urge the Republican Congress to support an immigration overhaul.

The letter -- sent by major Republican donors such as Vice President Dan Quayle, Carlos Gutierrez, the commerce secretary under President George W. Bush, and Karl Rove -- calls for "legal status" to those living in the country illegally.

In North Carolina, developer Judd Ammons, prominent farmer John Barnes, agribusiness leader Frank Granger and homebuilder Tim Minton joined Republican state Reps. Tom Murry of Morrisville and Tim Moffitt of Asheville in signing their names to the effort.


Morning Memo: Another gambling bust with N.C. ties; Hagan remains against gay marriage

ANOTHER GAMBLING BUST WITH N.C. TIES: On the same day Florida prosecutors busted a gambling operation that snared a company with major North Carolina political ties, an Ohio prosecutor leveled a new indictment against another sweepstakes company with Tar Heel ties.

The March 13 superseding indictment updated charges filed in May against VS2 Worldwide Communications, a company that operated illegal Internet sweepstakes gaming software, according to local news reports. The company's owners, Phillip Cornick of New Jersey and Richard Upchurch of Ramseur, face charges in Ohio of money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The two men and their wives contributed more than $45,000 to North Carolina political candidates -- including Gov. Pat McCrory -- with more than half coming after their initial May indictments.

HAGAN ONE OF 11 SENATE DEMOCRATS NOT TO ENDORSE GAY MARRIAGE: North Carolina's Kay Hagan remains opposed to gay marriage, even though three prominent Democrats colleagues recently shifted their stances. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday (California's Proposition 8) and Wednesday (the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA) about same-sex marriage.

**More on the VS2's campaign contributions and Hagan's stance on gay marriage below in today's Dome Morning Memo. Sends news and tips to Thanks for reading.***

Jones angry over release of illegal immigrants

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones is demanding information from the Obama administration on the release of nearly 2,000 illegal immigrants as part of the budget cuts called sequestration.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Jones and 36 other Republicans want information on how it was determined which detainees would be released and whether there would be additional releases.

“We are deeply concerned that the Department of Homeland Security is using sequestration as a vehicle to further the Administration's disregard for enforcing our immigration laws,” said the letter signed by Jones and others. “Specifically, we are troubled by recent reports that DHS has released hundreds of illegal immigrants, rather than finding cost savings elsewhere in the agency.''

Alert the color police! It's fuchsia, not pink, on immigrant driver's licenses

The "pink stripe" is the new buzz word in North Carolina politics. But we learned from Transportation Secretary Tony Tata that it's not actually pink -- it's fuchsia.

The color -- defined in the dictionary as "vivid reddish purple" -- is getting all sorts of attention because it will appear on the driver's licenses issued to illegal immigrants under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Democrats are calling it a "scarlet letter" for immigrants.

McCrory reiterated this support for the stripe, saying "we have many different stripes for many different driver's licenses."

"I'm not even sure its pink," McCrory said. "What color is the real color?"

Tata told him the color is actually fuchsia. To justify the stripe, the secretary said state law requires markings on the front for different types of licenses and it matches the color of federal documents these individuals received under the program.

Morning Memo: McCrory-Cooper face off on immigrant driver's licenses

UPDATED: McCRORY-COOPER SHOWDOWN: Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's Division of Motor Vehicles is refusing to issue immigrants in the deferred action program driver's licenses but Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper says they must.

The state Attorney General’s office said Thursday that young illegal immigrants participating in an Obama administration program blocking deportation for two years should be eligible for driving privileges in North Carolina, but by day’s end it wasn’t clear whether the DMV would issue them. But by late Thursday, more than five hours after the opinion was released, acting DMV Commissioner J. Eric Boyette said DMV officials had not formulated their response. “We have just received the ruling from the Attorney General’s office regarding driver’s licenses for people in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program today and we are in the process of reviewing it,” Boyette said by email.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo, a roundup of political news and analysis in North Carolina.

House immigration committee dissolves without draft legislation

A special House committee punted immigration reform to the full chamber, declining to draft any legislation at its final meeting Thursday.

The House Select Committee on the State's Role in Immigration Policy essential ended confounded by the politics of the issue and couldn't come to an agreement on the best way to proceed. 

Lawmakers spent less than one minute discussing its brief final report and adjourned without any discussion of the issue. The meeting stood in stark contrast to a previous public hearing with heated language and passionate pleas from groups pushing for stricter laws and those warning against taking any action.

Committee co-chairman Frank Iler, a Oak Island Republican, said lawmakers can introduce their own legislation next year. He plans to do so but refused to discuss what it would say.

McIntyre hits GOP rival for supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants

Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre is hitting his GOP rival for supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants in a new TV ad.

The ad debuts as Americans for Legal Immigration PAC endorsed McIntyre in the 7th District, despite saying earlier this year it wouldn't support a candidate in the race.

Special House committee delays immigration reform

House Republican leaders are delaying consideration of a comprehensive immigration bill until the 2013 legislative session.

Rep. Harry Warren, a committee co-chairman, said the House select committee wants to  wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of other state's immigration legislation before taking any action. 

The announcement came at the end of an intense, often personal two-hour public hearing that featured testimony from undocumented immigrants and ardent illegal immigration foes. Check back later for more details.

Immigrant students

— The number of illegal immigrants studying at North Carolina's community colleges. That's roughly one-tenth of one percent of the 271,000 degree-seeking students in the system.
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