McFarlane Grants Amnesty to OTB’ers

OTB immigrants

A sign near Leesville High warns motorists of possible hair product slicks.

BY NORM D. GUERRE         DEC. 24, 2014

RALEIGH – Just in time for Christmas, Mayor Nancy McFarlane issued an mayoral order Tuesday night to defer deportations of undocumented Outside-The-Beltliners.

Ronnie Tobolowsky, a 32-year old Trenton native, watched McFarlane’s announcement at Raleigh’s New Jersey-Carolina Coalition. He immediately texted his younger sister after the mayor announced that parents of Inside-The-Beltline citizens would qualify for the program.

“Kathy and Dennis are safe,” he said, breathing a sigh of relief, explaining that he has always referred to his parents by their first names.

But, if past is prologue, the mayoral order also will reverberate far beyond those households to Inside-The-Beltline schools, job sites, and networks, where the newly legalized will likely get more involved in their communities, and to the Beltline border, where law enforcement agents and Crabtree area residents expect an influx of migrants hoping to cross the Beltline and slip into Raleigh proper’s deferral program.

Christmas Miracle or Holiday Horror?

Raleigh Customs and Border Protection made 10,113 apprehensions in fiscal 2013, marking a rise for a third straight year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which collected the data that “ITBorder Patrol” officials post on their website.

“Obviously our workload will increase,” reported RPD detective R. Bowen. “It’ll be a nightmare. The illegal OTB’ers will spread like wildfire. I wouldn’t be surprised if we started bringing in more than a few perps wearing Millbrook shirts.”

Additionally, there will be an increased financial burden associated with the potential for increased illegal OTB’ers. “Right now we’re looking at hiring additional officers who are trained at translating OTB into English.  I’ve got one thing to say for this North Raleighese expression ‘GTL,’ and that’s WTF?” stated Bowen.

For Lake Boone business owner Boylan Whitaker, there is no question what the effects of McFarlane’s mayoral order will be. “They’re already coming again. They stop in the store, pretend to look for some muscle car mags or hair gel or something, and then trash the restroom,” Whitaker said Tuesday. “Any talk about reform or amnesty, it just brings a wave of new OTB’ers.”

On any given day, about 30 people will come through his small business  located near the Beltline, he said. But he estimates that those numbers have doubled in the past week as news spread of the pending mayoral order. Fixing broken restroom appliances, taking out overflowing trash made with excess hair product, and tolerating terrible, loudly played music is a daily struggle.

Furthermore, ITBorder Patrol agents on cross country bikes and off-road vehicles sometimes chase illegal OTB’ers rushing across his lawn, he said. “They’re easy to spot,” he said. “No one from here gets their hair that ridiculously tapered, and the Drakar smell is a dead giveaway.”

Gathering Inside-the-Beltline

Emotions were bittersweet in downtown Raleigh where around 50 people squeezed into a room at a combined meeting of the New Jersey-Carolina Coalition and the Leesville-to-Moore Square PAC.


Members of the New Jersey-Carolina coalition celebrate late into the night somewhere in North Raleigh.









The two Outside-The-Beltline organizations came together to watch McFarlane’s speech and celebrate their progress during commercial breaks in the Carolina Hurricanes game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Some in the room, like Tobolowsky, will benefit from the amnesty which protects the parents of ITB citizens. But many in the room would not since they were so-called Dreamers, who received their own deferrals from deportation granted in 2012 to those brought ITB illegally as children. Their parents were not eligible for the order unless they qualified through another program.

Tears were shed after the speech by some after realizing their parents wouldn’t qualify. Syndee Giancola, field coordinator for the Coalition, said even those whose families are not expected to qualify could take solace in the fact that pretty much everyone in the group had a friend or loved one who would benefit. “On the one hand, something very positive happened for all those Outside The Beltline,” Giancola said. “But we still have work to do.”

For starters Giancola advises, ITB citizens and law enforcement officers can work to overcome stereotypes about OTB’ers.  “Not all OTB’ers are from North Raleigh.  In fact, many OTB’ers are from Cary, Durham, or as far south as Garner.  And not all wear track suits or sideways hats,” she added.

Consequences of Amnesty

One of the main concerns with past legalization proposals – including the 2013 City Council proposal, is that once again, measures put in to stem the tide of illegal immigration from North Raleigh or Cary would not be enforced. The fear is that McFarlane’s order commits the same grave mistakes.

“That means it’s very possible that we’re going to have a rush of people to the beltline,” said Hayes Mordecai , an immigration policy analyst at Inside-The-Beltline Institute of Heritage. “We’re going to run the risk of fraud of people trying to get this immigration status.  However, word is the General Assembly is considering retinal scans for voter identification by 2016.  Inside-The-Beltline immigration policy could piggyback off that and streamline identification services.”

In North Raleigh, Giancola credited McFarlane’s mayoral order with serving a humanitarian need, but she said it does not address a fundamental need for immigrant labor or the basic right of human dignity to not live outside the Beltline.

Surry Wooten, a lifetime resident of Pasquotank Drive, expressed concern over a pint of beer at the Players Retreat on Hillsborough Street.  “They can just get in line and wait their turn to immigrate like everyone else.  My ancestors helped settle Country Club Hills way back when there wasn’t even a golf course there. Can you imagine?”

At press time Aaron Minger, athletic director at Broughton High School, was rubbing his hands with glee. “Think of the potential athletes we’re going to get.  Every OTB’er who can run, jump, or swim across the Beltline will have their children here.  And those are the ones who avoided ITBorder Patrol.  We’ll just have to work on getting some student visas or an ITB ‘family’.”

Minger was last seen reportedly looking for Izzy Hernandez, retired BHS soccer coach and considered the world’s foremost expert on ITB’ing OTB’s finest athletes.

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