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Change made to proposed South Carolina immigration bill

Last week, a South Carolina House Judiciary subcommittee voted collectively to remove part of the state's proposed immigration bill (discussed in a previous post) that would have imposed a tax on money that illegal immigrants sent back to family in their home countries.

People against the section of the bill that placed a fee on wire transfers made out of the country said that it would end up doing much more harm than good, saying that businesses, students from other countries and families with military servicemen and women would end up suffering from the fee.

Specifically, the wire transfer fee, which was added to the bill during the Senate floor debate, sought charge $5 on transfers made out of the country of less than $500 and a 1 percent fee for transfers $500 and more. Currently, Oklahoma, Arizona and Nevada are the only states that implement fees similar to this on wire transfers made out of the country.

The immigration bill, which already passed through South Carolina's Senate, would be similar to the controversial bill adopted in Arizona which requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of criminal suspects whom they are "reasonably suspicious" are illegal immigrants. The requirement would apply to all crimes, including traffic violations.

However, unlike the Arizona bill, South Carolina's would not allow to police to suspects someone based on their "suspicion" alone, mandating that they must notify ICE and if there is no reply, they must charge the person normally.

As bills like this one sweep the nation, they have sparked a national debate among those who want to crack down on illegal immigration, those who believe that the measures have potential to breach fundamental Constitutional rights, those who think the economy will suffer if residents willing to do hard labor jobs for cheap are forced out and those who say the bill is too expensive for the states to fund.

Reportedly, a wide variety of people spoke out against the bill at the House Judiciary subcommittee last week, including people ranging from students to ministers.

It is expected that the subcommittee will meet again in the next few weeks to discuss further action with the bill.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "SC panel nixes wire fee from immigration bill," Seanna Adcox, 4/8/2011.

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