Current Actions

  • SIGN THE PETITION: Tell the Obama administration to take bold action on administrative relief

    More than 1,000 immigrants are separated from their families and communities every day because of deportations. The Obama administration has the legal and moral authority to prevent tomorrow’s citizens from suffering the consequences of political inaction. This suffering is unnecessary, and there are many tangible steps the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) can, and should, implement immediately to prevent discrimination and racial profiling, reduce family separation, and build healthier, more prosperous American communities.

    Learn more about the steps the administration could take at this link.

    SIGN THE PETITION below to tell the White House, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to take action today.

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  • PETITION: Stop the tax cuts
  • SIGN THE PETITION: Tell NC State lawmakers to support the Earned Income Tax Credit and a higher minimum wage

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the minimum wage are two critical policies to ensure fairness and economic security for low-income working families. Together these policies ensure that working families are maximizing their take-home pay and better able to make ends meet.

    The federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 per hour, has not kept up with the cost of basic goods and would leave a family with one parent working full time, year round, in poverty. While some states have passed higher minimum wage requirements than the current inadequate wage at the federal level, North Carolina’s minimum wage remains at $7.25. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since 1968, it would be more than $10.50 per hour today.

    The EITC helps working families too by providing a tax credit so low wage workers can keep more of the money they earn. Families who receive the EITC use it to help pay for basic necessities and it has proven to be one of the most effective tools to reduce child poverty. While a federal EITC remains in place, North Carolina lawmakers chose to let the state EITC expire at the end of 2013, amounting to a tax shift onto almost one million low-income families.

    Neither an increased minimum wage nor a state EITC, by itself, guarantees that working North Carolinians can meet the basic cost of living. But the combination of the two policies goes further toward meeting this goal than either one alone. Here’s why these policies should both be enacted.

    • They target overlapping but different populations. For example the EITC is targeted to especially benefit workers with children, while increasing the minimum wage would help working parents and non-parents.
    • A higher minimum wage increases the value of the EITC.
    • The policies benefit workers at different time periods. The minimum wage increase take home pay throughout the year, and the EITC provides a much needed boost to families during tax time.
    • Allows public and private sector to share the cost of increasing take-home pay of working families.

  • SIGN THE PETITION: Tell NC lawmakers to work toward compassionate responses to immigrant children in our state

    We are proud to call North Carolina home. But we are outraged and deeply disappointed at NC Governor Pat McCrory's recent statements about unaccompanied immigrant children joining family members or sponsors in our state. We are similarly dismayed when local elected officials also treat these children as a threat rather than as human beings in need of our care and protection.

    We strongly object to the following FALSE statements made by NC elected leaders:

    • The unaccompanied children will "expose [our] residents to crippling diseases." - Dare County Commissioner Wally Overman
    • Descriptions of “buses being unloaded in communities.” - Governor Pat McCrory
    • "They shouldn’t be coming.” - Governor Pat McCrory

    Certain leaders in our state are relying on xenophobic, anti-immigrant talking points line by line. They are playing on people's worst fears and stoking racial hatred with their remarks. We recognize this pattern, and it has an ugly history in these United States. We will not be fooled. We will stand together for all of our children - no matter what color they are, or where their ancestors came from - to fight for policies that treat all human beings with dignity and respect.

    Each of these children deserves qualified legal representation and a fair day in court to determine the outcome of their immigration case. Like all children, they deserve to live with family members and caregivers who love them, to attend quality schools, to be in safe and healthy environments, and be protected from harm.

  • TAKE ACTION! Thank Senator Hagan for her leadership on paid leave

    Urge Sen. Hagan to finish the job by supporting legislation that provides paid family leave for all workers

    Thanks to Senator Kay Hagan, a key priority for working families took a big step forward yesterday, when a key U.S. Senate subcommittee heard from North Carolina business owners, advocates, and representatives of working families as they made the case for why paid family medical leave policies benefit both employees and businesses. Such programs allow workers to recover from a serious illness or care for a sick loved one or new child without risking their job or the income they need.

    Currently the Family and Medical Leave Act is the only federal law designed to help working people succeed both as providers and caregivers. However, it leaves out 40 percent of the workforce and guarantees only unpaid leave, which millions cannot afford. Only 12 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and less than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program. In North Carolina, 44 percent of workers have no access to paid sick days, let alone paid family medical leave. Low-income workers have it even worse off and are often given no flexibility in their work schedules at all.

    Yesterday’s subcommittee hearing was requested by Senator Hagan and is the latest sign of the growing commitment by lawmakers on Capitol Hill and throughout the U.S. to find a solution that can help every working family meet the dual demands of job and family. 

    Now it’s time to finish the job and provide paid family and medical leave insurance to all workers across America, so that no one has to choose between keeping their job and having a baby or taking care of sick children.

    TAKE ACTION! Contact Sen. Hagan today and thank her for her leadership. Let her know that you want a paid medical leave policy for all workers!

    For more information on the importance of paid family medical leave for the caregiving industry, see this recent report released by the N.C. Justice Center. Additionally, read the personal stories of working people across the country who benefitted from affordable family leave or suffered due to the lack of protection.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell legislators to vote NO on HB 1224

    Call or Email Your Legislators Right NOW and Tell Them to Vote NO on HB 1224, Which Goes to the Floor for a Vote on Monday, July 21
     
    HB 1224 would cap the local sales tax option to support vital public services at 2.5 percent.* Even more concerning, the bill would only allow counties to levy a sales tax increase for either education or transit—not both. This bill is particularly harsh for Mecklenburg, Forsyth, Guilford, and Wake counties because they are currently authorized to level up to 2.75 percent under a transit law passed several years ago.
     
    Not only does this bill decrease localities’ authority to meet local needs and balance their budgets, but it also is aimed at shifting the responsibility of funding public education away from the state and towards the locals. The state can’t afford last year’s tax plan and now legislators are proposing budgets that would make serious cuts to public education as a result. Those cuts would have to be absorbed by children in the classroom or addressed at the local level, putting local governments in a tough spot having to choose whether or not to make up the difference via a local tax.
     
    The bill forces a false choice between the need to prioritize education or transit. The state’s communities are dynamic places that need both education and transit to be competitive, quality places to live. Their voters should get to decide on what they want their tax dollars to support. They deserve a choice that’s not limited because of bad choices at the state level, which is what this bill would do.
     
    Call or email your legislators NOW using the form below and tell them to REJECT HB 1224 and instead focus on creating a fair, stable, and adequate revenue stream that is able to fund core services and programs such as public education. Limiting the options for local governments should be rejected, especially in the face of inadequate state budgets due to tax cuts that put pressures on local budgets.
     
    *The only exceptions would be for Durham and Orange counties who would be grandfathered in.
     

  • TAKE ACTION! Contact legislators today to voice your support for second chances

    In the November 2013 Second Chance Newsletter, we highlighted the exploitative practices of mugshot websites and called on state legislators to prohibit these practices. These websites typically extort huge fees from individuals even where the charges do not result in convictions. In our electronic age, a mug shot posted in such a stigmatizing manner can deprive innocent individuals, as well as individuals who have moved beyond their long-ago mistakes, of gainful employment and affordable housing. The public value of these extortion-like practices is negligible because they are not providing the public with a full and accurate accounting of community members charged with criminal offenses, only the community members charged with crimes and too poor to pay the removal fees.

    Under the leadership of Senator Thom Goolsby, the Senate has responded to our advocacy by including in its budget a provision that would make it illegal to charge or solicit a fee to remove an individual’s mugshot from a website or other publication (NC Budget Provision Hits Mugshot Websites). In response to concerns from the North Carolina Press Association that the language included in the Senate budget may unintentionally limit the access of traditional media organizations to mugshots, Senator Goolsby has worked with the Second Chance Alliance and North Carolina Press Association to revise the language to make clear the prohibitions apply only to websites charging fees to remove mug shots. This revised language is unopposed by the North Carolina Press Association and has been provided to legislative leaders reconciling the House and Senate budgets. 

    In order to ensure this tightened provision is included in the final version of the budget passed by both the Senate and House, our legislative leaders need to hear from you TODAY. Use the form below or call/email legislators directly using the following list.

    Sen. Neal Hunt (Wake): (919) 733-5850       
    Sen. Harry Brown (Jones, Onslow): (919) 715-3034    
    Sen. Kathy Harrington (Gaston): (919) 733-5734       
    Sen. Brent Jackson (Johnston): (919) 733-5705       
    Sen. Tom Apodaca (Buncombe): (919) 733-5745       
    Sen. Buck Newton (Nash, Wilson): (919) 715-3030  
    Sen. Shirley B. Randleman (Stokes, Surry): (919) 733-5743    
    Rep. Leo Daughtry (Johnston): (919) 733-5605       
    Rep. Justin Burr (Montgomery): (919) 733-5908       
    Rep. Linda Johnson (Cabarrus): (919) 733-5861       
    Rep. Bryan Holloway (Rockingham): (919) 733-5609      
    Rep. Pat McElraft (Carteret): (919) 733-6275       
    Rep. Jamie Boles, Jr. (Moore): (919) 733-5903       
    Rep. Pat Hurley (Randolph): (919) 733-5865      
    Rep. John Faircloth (Guilford): (919) 733-5877      

    Contact your legislators today to voice your support for second chances.

  • TAKE ACTION_House Finance HB1210

    It has been a fast-paced environment since legislators arrived back in Raleigh just two weeks ago.  While much of the focus has been on the damage done as a result of 2013 decisions and the potential damage of proposals in 2014, there are some genuine efforts to improve the situation.

    One piece of legislation, HB1210, would rescind the tax cut for millionaires by adding back to the state’s now flat income tax structure a top rate of 7.75% for those with incomes higher than $1 million for married taxpayers filing jointly.

    The result of this legislation would be to increase available revenue for critical investments like educating our children and protecting the health of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.  It would also make the state tax code fairer by reducing the share of the net tax benefit that goes the wealthiest taxpayers.

    We are writing to ask you to urge your NC State Representative, who is a chair of the House Finance committee, to request that this bill be allowed to be heard in the House Finance committee.

  • TAKE ACTION! An Important Bill to Support Much-Needed Investments and Tax Fairness

    It has been a fast-paced environment since legislators arrived back in Raleigh just two weeks ago.  While much of the focus has been on the damage done as a result of 2013 decisions and the potential damage of proposals in 2014, there are some genuine efforts to improve the situation.

    One piece of legislation, HB1210, would rescind the tax cut for millionaires by adding back to the state’s now flat income tax structure a top rate of 7.75% for those with incomes higher than $1 million for married taxpayers filing jointly.

    The result of this legislation would be to increase available revenue for critical investments like educating our children and protecting the health of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.  It would also make the state tax code fairer by reducing the share of the net tax benefit that goes the wealthiest taxpayers.

    We are writing to ask you to thank your NC State Representative, one of several legislators who sponsored this bill, for introducing this important proposal to restore in part the state’s commitment to a fair and adequate tax code. 

  • Take Action! Contact your legislators NOW - Tell them to stop costly tax cuts

    Contact your state Senator and Representative today and tell them to stop the tax cuts that are scheduled to take place due to the tax plan passed last year. Tell them no more cuts that put our state’s critical investments, families and communities at risk!

    State policymakers are in the final days of budget negotiations. They have gone long past the start of the fiscal year on July 1 and have been at an impasse on the budget for over 3 weeks. Due to the costly tax plan passed in 2013, lawmakers are deciding which critical investments will be cut to keep a balanced budget. The tax plan that created this crisis includes huge tax cuts that primarily benefit wealthy taxpayers and profitable corporations. This costly and misguided plan reduces available revenue for vital public investments by $1 billion each fiscal year, almost the entire budget for NC's Community College system! Addressing a revenue shortfall in the coming years means continued cuts to public schools, higher education, and investments that ensure the safety and well-being of our state’s residents.

    This reality is reflected in the budget proposals presented by policymakers this session which shortchange all levels of education from pre-K to higher education, and make it impossible to make critical investments in rebuilding our infrastructure, protecting our environment, investing in economic development, and protecting the health and safety of families.

    State leaders have created a self-imposed budget challenge that threatens a strong recovery for North Carolina. Ensuring that adequate revenue is available for the public investments that serve as the foundation of economic growth and vibrant communities is vital to promoting economic opportunity for all North Carolinians.  

    • Lawmakers can make the right choice this year and choose to stop the next round of extremely costly income tax rate reductions included in the tax plan, which largely benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations. These dollars can be invested in programs that build a strong economy.
    • Core public investments have been harmed by state budget cuts over the past few years.  Public education has significant disinvestment, our infrastructure is crumbling, public health programs are struggling and efforts to monitor and protect the environment are facing unprecedented challenges.
    • North Carolina has seen the quality and reach of its public services decline.  We are doing less with less and that’s not the way to a stronger economy and future for our state.

    We urge you to Take Action! Contact your state Senator and Representative and let them know that stopping further tax cuts allows for reinvesting and rebuilding in North Carolina. Tell them no budget should be passed until plans for the long-term revenue losses are made.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell President Obama to create a program of affirmative relief for immigrant communities

    The current status quo on immigration has reached a crisis point and is unacceptable. More than 1,000 immigrants are separated from their families and communities each day because of deportations. Deportations in the South are disproportionately high due to draconian anti-immigrant state laws and widespread racial profiling.

    Take Action! Write to President Obama and ask him to take action on immigration today by doing the following:

    • Ask him to exercise his authority to create a program of affirmative relief. This will help ensure that currently unauthorized immigrants can live and work and contribute to their communities without fear of deportation.
    • Ask the President to support a range of changes to U.S. detention and deportation policies, including an end to the detention bed quota; an end to SComm, 287g, and other ICE ACCESS programs; making prosecutorial discretion meaningful; and strengthening due process and protections for civil rights, workers' rights and human rights in immigration enforcement.

    Act today and tell President Obama that the South says, "2 million is too many. Not 1 more deportation."

  • Take Action! Tell your state legislator to reinstate the Earned Income Tax Credit

    In the next few days, Senators and House members will debate another round of tax changes.  It is time to urge them to reinstate the Earned Income Tax Credit. Without action in the next few weeks, working families will no longer be able to receive this vital lifeline to help them meet rising costs for food, a tank of gas and the basics for their children’s educational success on low wages.

    TAKE ACTION NOW! Call or email your legislator and tell them to reinstate the EITC.

    In 2013, North Carolina lawmakers gave our state the dubious designation of becoming the first state ever to let the state EITC expire, resulting in a tax increase for over 900,000 working families in North Carolina, including 64,000 military families. By letting the EITC expire, the state legislature disregarded evidence that it is one of the most effective tools to combat poverty.

    • The EITC is also one of the best ways to combat child poverty, contributing to better child outcomes including improved school achievement and higher future earnings in adulthood.
    • It supports workers as they earn low wages and seek career mobility. 
    • And finally, it addresses the upside-down nature of our tax system that was made worse with the final tax plan that let North Carolina’s EITC expire.

    Take Action! Call or email your state legislator and tell them to reinstate the EITC. 

    There are currently two bills, Senate Bill 185 and House Bill 152 that should be given a hearing this session in Finance Committees.  In addition to contacting your legislators, please send a special note to the chairs of these committees to request that these bills get a hearing.and the basics for their children’s educational success on low wages:

    • Senator Rabon
    • Senator Rucho
    • Senator Curtis
    • Senator Rabin
    • Representative Howard
    • Representative W. Brawley
    • Representative Lewis
    • Representative Setzer
  • Take Action! Tell your U.S. Senators to renew federal unemployment insurance

    More than 1.3 million Americans were abruptly cut off of their federal unemployment benefits last week after attempts to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program were blocked in both the House and Senate.  Another 72,000 unemployed jobseekers lost access to those federal benefits this past week, and an additional 72,000 will lose unemployment insurance this week and every week until the program is restored and lost benefits are paid retroactively.

    A bi-partisan 3-month reauthorization of federal EUC benefits is set to be the Senate's first order of business. It is co-sponsored by Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and Senator Dean Heller, a Republican from Nevada, and would give Congress time to craft the provisions of a full-year renewal.

    Now is the time to contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to renew federal unemployment insurance and restore this vital lifeline for more than 1.3 million Americans. You can contact Sen. Hagan and Sen. Burr by:

    • Email, using the form below or;
    • Phone by calling 877-267-2485 to be connected to your U.S. Senator.

    The Reed-Heller bill has the support of all 53 Democrats and 2 Independents, but 60 votes are needed to even allow the bill to come up for debate.  At least four Republican Senators will be needed to join Sen. Heller in favor and allow an up-or-down vote on the bill.  It is crucial that both of your Senators hear from you.

    Call today, call tomorrow, call the next day—and every day until the renewal of federal unemployment benefits passes!

    The expiration of federal EUC benefits is causing severe hardship for the more than 1.3 million Americans and their families who had these vital benefits shut down December 28.  Many unemployed jobseekers and their families will swiftly slide into poverty and homelessness unless these benefits are restored and EUC is renewed.  The Senate must do the right thing and act responsibly on behalf of the American people, their unemployed constituents and the nation's economy.

    Contact Sen. Hagan and Sen. Burr today. Tell them to renew federal unemployment insurance and restore this vital lifeline for more than 1.3 million Americans.

  • TAKE ACTION: Three Easy Ways to Take Action on Immigration Reform

    Para español ver abajo/For Spanish see below

    The news media are telling us that immigration reform is dead for 2013.  They are telling us there is no time before the holidays for Congress to take up this important issue.  But we know that while members of Congress can go home to enjoy the holidays with their families, immigrant mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters will continue to be detained, deported, and live under extreme fear in their daily life.

    Some courageous activists have been fasting in Washington DC since November 12 to show Congress the urgency of the campaign for immigration reform. While many of us are enjoying Thanksgiving dinners with our families this week, we can at least take a few simple steps to remind Congress how important this issue is to our families and to share our stories of why reform is so desperately needed

    You can help create change by:

    • Use the form below to send a message directly to your Congressperson, urging a vote on immigration reform. You can also use the language as a script when you call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Representative. Then ask your friends, neighbors, congregation members, etc. to join you in supporting fair and compassionate immigration reform;
    • Leave a short message, text, photo, or video about why YOU want immigration reform at:  919-675-2409; or
    • “Like” us on Facebook at NC Path to Justice – Camino Hacia La Justicia, to follow the latest updates on immigration reform and read about those continuing to fight for a fair and humane immigration reform that doesn’t criminalize immigrant communities.

    Thank you for your support, and for continuing to support the struggle for immigrants’ rights.

    Learn more about how immigration reform could positively impact North Carolina's economy in this new brief from the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center.


    ¡Toma medidas de acción! Hay tres maneras fáciles para tomar medidas de acción sobre la reforma migratoria

    Los noticieros nos comunican para el restante del 2013, la reforma migratoria ha muerto. Nos dicen que ya no hay tiempo para que el congreso se enfoque en este antes de que el congreso entre en vacaciones. Pero sabemos que mientras los congresistas se van a casa a celebrar las fiestas con sus familias,  familias inmigrantes, madres, padres, hijos, hijas  seguirán siendo detenidos, deportados y viviendo bajo miedo extremo cada día.

    Algunos activistas valientes en Washington DC han
    estado de ayunas desde el 12 de noviembre para demostrarle al Congreso la urgencia de la reforma migratoria. Mientras que muchos de nosotros estemos disfrutando de la cena de Acción de Gracias junto a nuestras familias, podríamos tomar algunas medidas para recordarle al congreso lo importante que es para nosotros y nuestras familias compartiendo nuestras historias acerca de lo importe que es para nosotros la reforma migratoria.

    Puedes ayudar:

    • Utiliza este formulario para enviar un mensaje directo a tu congresista insistiendo por la votación a la reforma migratoria. Usted puede utilizar el guion cuando llame al 1-866-940-2439 para conectarse con su representante. Pregúntele a sus amigos, vecinos, miembros de su congregación, etc... si quieren unirse a ti y apoyar a por una reforma migratoria.
    • Deje un mensaje corto, un texto, foto o video explicando por qué quieres una reforma migratoria al: (919) 526-0676 o
    • o por Facebook pica "Me gusta" en: NC Path to Justice – Camino Hacia La Justicia, para seguir las últimas actualizaciones sobre la reforma migratoria y leer acerca de los que continúan  luchando por una reforma migratoria justa y humana que  no criminalice a las comunidades de inmigrantes.

    Gracias por tu apoyo y por el continuo apoyo a la lucha por los derechos de los inmigrantes.

    Aprenda más con un nuevo informe del Centro de Presupuestos e Impuestos del Centro de Justicia sobre como la reforma migratoria influenciará de manera positiva la economía de Carolina del Norte.

  • TAKE ACTION! Stop cuts that feed more than 1.7 million North Carolinians

    Recent cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) already mean there are $36 fewer dollars a month available to a family of four who is struggling to put food on the table. The result will create even greater challenges for the 1 in 6 households who are faced with too few resources to meet their family’s nutritional needs.

    As Congress debates the Farm Bill even more drastic cuts are being considered that would amount to $40 billion reductions in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) over 10 years and reduce access to food for thousands of North Carolina’s unemployed and low-income working families.

    Families continue to struggle to feed their families as the holidays approach and it is critical that the North Carolina federal delegation vote in the best interest of their constituents and conscience and reject the House proposal for the Farm Bill. 

    Please take a moment to send a message to your Representative and Senators to urge them to reject the House Farm Bill which would leave families without enough food on the table. Tell them to support the important role of SNAP for supporting struggling families in a jobless recovery.