August 15, 2012
Mecklenburg County commissioner Bill James firmly placed himself on the wrong side of history by introducing a bill to mimic Alabama's law that requires investigation of students' immigration status. The bill had little chance of passing due it the fact that it is both unconstitutional. When reading the Board of Education chair's response to commissioner James, it could be summarized as asking the bill sponsor, 'what part of illegal don't you understand?' Still, the commissioner was determined to bring the bill forward for debate.
While his co-sponsors Bentley and Pendergraph rooted their support in the benign argument that they simply were seeking information not seeking to intimidate, Pendergraph's history in bringing the 287g program that as decimated the civil rights of the migrant community to Charlotte and commissioner James' own remarks of hoping to send a bill to children's country of origin for the cost of their education revealed the undertone of the proposal. The dozens of audience members who showed up carrying bananas to protest the absurdity of the proposal watched as the discrimination and mal-intent inherent in James' effort was revealed and refuted by the rest of the commission.