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Some NC County Governments Draft Child Immigration Resolutions

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Some local governments in North Carolina are considering resolutions that urge the federal government to stop allowing unaccompanied minors into the country illegally. 

Commissioners in Rowan and Brunswick counties have passed such resolutions in recent weeks.  They came shortly after Governor Pat McCrory estimated as many as 1,500 children from Central American countries had settled in North Carolina. It's been reported that violence in those countries has forced the children to flee.

Surry County Commissioner Larry Phillips recently introduced a similar resolution to his board.  He says an influx of children would put a strain on county resources.

"Because of privacy laws, we're not going to be allowed to track the placement of these children to make sure that they're not part of some sex trafficking ring or human trafficking ring," Phillips said. "There's going to be no way to verify the immunization status of the children, and to me that's very dangerous."

Phillips' resolution urges the federal government to "refrain from any unaccompanied minors and adults in Surry County." 

"One of the most basic functions of an elected official is to be concerned for the safety and the well-being of your citizens," Phillips said. If the children are in the county, Phillips said, he wants to know if they are safe.  "I want to know if they're protected. I want to know their whereabouts. I want to know if the person that says, 'Hey, I'm a sponsor,' is not on the receiving end of some servitude or drug deal that went bad in Honduras."

Larry Phillips also wants to send letters to the governments of Honduras, Ecuador and Guatemala, asking them to enforce human trafficking laws, or face a boycott of their imports in Surry County.  Commissioners will consider the resolution at their meeting Monday night.

Dare County also took up an immigration statement last month.  It was narrowly defeated, with the board's four Democrats opposed and its three Republicans in favor.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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