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These bills worsen NC labor shortage
The writer is former director of El Centro Hispano, the largest Latino organization in N.C..
Just as North Carolina faces a crippling labor shortage, state legislators are weighing two anti-immigrant measures that will push undocumented workers further into the shadows.
House Bill 867 would reclassify some full-time independent contractors as employees, forcing many undocumented workers to provide documentation and go through E-Verify. This would drastically reduce their work opportunities and force some to leave jobs they’ve been doing for years, including in construction and the service industry — two fields facing major labor shortages.
Overall, our state’s shrinking labor pool is expected to lead to poor economic growth.
The legislature is also expected to once again take up Senate Bill 101, known as “Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0.” Such laws hurt the state. They deter undocumented people, including crime victims and witnesses, from having any interaction with law enforcement. They divert police resources and attention away from violent crime, and have a significant chilling effect on the economy as workers and businesses choose to move elsewhere.
This is precisely what happened in Arizona after the state passed a similar, now defunct, law. And it’s why our state defeated a similar bill in 2019.
There are over 865,000 immigrants in N.C., according to the nonprofit New American Economy. Over, 300,000 are undocumented. Together our households earned $29.2 billion and paid $7.7 billion in taxes in 2019. These workers provide significant manpower in important industries like construction, manufacturing, agriculture and personal care services.
North Carolina politicians need to wake up. The state is changing, and anti-immigrant policies can’t stop that. Building barriers and adding new restrictions will only hurt us all in the long run. Instead, we need to expand access to jobs, education and health care so that all residents can work hard and provide for their families without fear.
Stroke protocol will save lives
The writers are N.C. physicians writing on behalf of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery.
On Oct. 15 a new life-saving stroke protocol will take effect in North Carolina. It will help ensure that patients experiencing a critical stroke will be effectively triaged and transported to the hospital best-equipped to treat them.
We already have a similar process for critically injured patients to ensure they are transported by EMS to a Level 1 trauma center. Stroke patients deserve nothing less.
According to CDC data, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and a leading cause of long-term disability in North Carolina. Nationwide, it affects 795,000 Americans annually, 20% of whom die while many more are left permanently disabled.
As clinicians who treat stroke patients, we can attest to the impact of transport delays on prolonging the effects of stroke. For every minute of delay in treating severe ischemic stroke, 2 million brain cells die. With each hour that passes before the patient is properly treated, the brain loses as many neurons as it does in almost 3.6 years of normal aging.
There are Level 1 stroke centers across North Carolina capable of treating critical cases. Under the updated Stroke and LVO Stroke EMS Triage and Destination Plan first responders will be empowered to triage and transport critical stroke patients to these facilities It is a remarkable achievement North Carolinians should be proud of.
We commend N.C. Sen. Jim Perry, the Justus-Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force, and the N.C. Division of Public Health for their commitment and dedication in leading the collaborative effort to update the state’s EMS protocol and improve patient outcomes. Thanks to their leadership, North Carolina will join more than a dozen states across the country that have improved their protocols to meet the unique needs of patients afflicted with the deadliest cases of stroke and save more lives.
Dr. Katyucia de Macedo Rodrigues, Greensboro
Dr. William Marx, Asheville