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South Carolina women demonstrate against immigration bill

This week, national news reported that more than 280 women and children recently gathered in opposition to the South Carolina immigration bill that has been under consideration by the South Carolina General Assembly over the past year. The women and children came together at a sunset prayer vigil that was organized by a female minister.

Women have been particularly active in fighting the bill in South Carolina, commentators have said. One professor at the University of South Carolina -Aiken, who studies South Carolina's Latino population, suspected that this could be because women are known to be the more compassionate sex and are generally involved in social services so are aware of the bill's potential effects. She also said that women also tend to be very involved with church work, and the bill is opposed by many church groups.

The proposed immigration bill seeks to implement an Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit that would be overseen by the state's Department of Public Safety and would require all police officers to question the citizenship status of anyone they think could be in the country illegally. And while the law specifically prohibits racial profiling, opponents say that it will result, nonetheless.

The bill is currently under consideration by a House judiciary subcommittee, and if it passes through that part of the legislature, will next go to the state Senate, which has already carved out $1.3 million from its proposed budget to fund the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit.

One woman against the legislation, the director of the University of South Carolina's Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, said that the bill has potential to break up many Latino families. That is because many Latino families are made up of family members who are legal and illegal residents.

Another woman, who is a field director for a church non-profit group that works with immigrants, said that several of the women at the recent vigil have husbands who have already been deported. She said now the women are forced to care for their children and households alone.

Source: Heraldonline.com, "Women a driving force in opposition to SC immigration bill," Noelle Phillips, 4/25/2011.

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