Monday, October 21, 2019

Tough South Carolina Immigration Law Faces Separate Lawsuits from U.S. Department of Justice and Pro-Immigrant Organizations

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Monday against South Carolina over its immigration law, which requires police officers to probe the immigration status of individuals they suspect to be undocumented.

The Justice Department is suing on the grounds that the federal government, not individual states, has authority on matters of immigration. The department has already taken similar action against two other states, Arizona and Alabama, over their immigration laws on the same grounds.

The South Carolina law, called S.B. 20, also referred to as Act No. 69, was passed in June and is set to go into effect at the beginning of next year.  Under the law, adults could be charged with a misdemeanor if they are not carrying documents that can verify their immigration status and would be fined for transporting unauthorized individuals.

These measures have led the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the National Immigration Law Center to argue that the law will go beyond its aim to curb unauthorized immigration, effectively creating a “climate of suspicion” against legal residents and fostering discrimination.

The ACLU and other organizations filed a separate lawsuit on October 12.

The law “will cause the detention and harassment of authorized visitors, immigrants, and citizens who do not have or carry identification documents specified by the statute, or who otherwise will be swept within Act No. 69’s rigid approach of universal, undifferentiated enforcement,” the Justice Department charges in its lawsuit.

The Justice Department is asking the federal court to temporarily block the law from going into effect.

South Carolina’s Attorney General Alan Wilson is prepared for the legal challenges and believes the law is both constitutional and in support of the federal law.

“It absolutely puzzles me that the federal government doesn’t want to help,” he stated.

Charleston resident, 29-year old Pepe Hernandez, voiced his opposition to the law.

“What’s happening here is that people are not accepting the groups who are arriving. They’re rejecting them, and they are very loud. They want to blame someone and make them into scapegoats, and now it’s the Hispanics,” said the 29-year-old.

 

Huffington Post

Latin American Herald Tribune/EFE

U.S. Department of Justice v. State of South Carolina

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