Under the Dome

McCrory musters support from sheriffs to sustain immigration bill veto

House Republicans may think they have enough votes to override the governor’s veto of two immigration and drug-testing welfare recipient bills. But Gov. Pat McCrory is fighting to the end trying to sway legislators.

On Friday, the governor’s office released statements from six county sheriffs supporting the veto of the immigration bill, H.B. 786. They, like the governor, oppose a provision in the bill that would expand the exemption from the E-Verify immigration status system for seasonal workers from 90 days to up to nine months.

McCrory has said that creates a loophole that could open the door for other industries besides agriculture to hire seasonal workers and take jobs away from legal residents. Some of the sheriffs echo those sentiments, and add other concerns.

Permitting more seasonal workers will lead to additional illegal aliens and impact schools, hospitals, roads and social programs, as well as increase the number of unlicensed drivers, Guilford Sheriff B.J. Barnes said.

The agricultural industry has been pushing for an override, saying they need seasonal workers for a longer period to handle crops. More than a dozen industry associations have written to the General Assembly asking for the override, and state Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler has sided with them.

An override requires a vote of three-fifths of those present in both chambers.

Both bills received bipartisan support, and House leaders say they have more than enough votes to accomplish that. The Senate can easily override H.B. 786 and H.B. 392, which would require drug testing some welfare recipients, if members stick with their votes that approved the bills. There should be a comfort margin of more than 10 votes on both bills.

Other sheriffs expressing support for the veto are Sam Page of Rockingham County, Chipp Bailey of Mecklenburg County, Chris Batten of Columbus County, Alan Cloninger of Gaston County and Bill Schatzman of Forsyth County.


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