Excerpt From: Charlotte Observer. Written By: Mark Price.
Undocumented immigrants waiting for Charlotte taxpayers to cover their legal fees – as immigrant groups have demanded – are out of luck.
After giving the matter some study, City Attorney Bob Hagemann has issued a concise statement putting the idea to rest.
It won’t happen. Ever.
“As you know, the City can only engage in activities and expend public funds as authorized by the General Assembly,” Hagemann said. “The General Assembly has not authorized the activities or expenditure of public funds (for a deportation defense fund).”
Mayor Jennifer Roberts addressed the demand herself in a recent interview on Spanish-language radio stations La Raza 106.1 FM and Latina 102.3 FM. She said it was very unlikely the City Council would approve a deportation defense fund, “when there are other programs that need help, such as housing assistance.”
A group called Comunidad Colectiva recently released a list of demands on behalf of undocumented immigrants, including one calling for a “distribution of funds to provide legal services for immigrants in deportation proceedings.” That demand was issued just a day or two before the group and its supporters caused chaos at a city council meeting, yelling, threatening and cursing at council members. No one was arrested, but one person was escorted out by police.
Communidad Colectiva also wants city leaders to fight a North Carolina statute, known as House Bill 318, that prohibits local governments from restricting law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration officials. And the group wants the city to oppose the federal 287(g) program in which local police collaborate with immigration agencies.