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South Carolina house approves illegal immigration bill

Now more than ever is the time to begin the application process for an immigrant visa in the United States if you have not already.

Yesterday, the South Carolina House voted to approve a bill that would require law enforcement officers in the state to check a person's immigration status during an arrest or traffic stop if they suspect that the person may be in the country illegally.

This bill would also allow police to detain a person who does not have documentation until they can prove their citizenship, and creates a special Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit to work closely with ICE.

Next, the state Senate must approve the House's changes to the bill, which it is expected to do today, and then it must be signed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is also expected to approve the bill.

After months of the federal government not taking action on immigration reform, many states have decided to address the issue themselves.

"It has become abundantly clear that if we want something done about illegal immigration, we're going to have to do it ourselves," the House Speaker said.

In fact, Georgia and Utah have both recently passed comprehensive illegal immigration bills, and of course Arizona passed the first of the controversial laws last spring. Currently, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas could also see illegal immigration bills passed this session.

The South Carolina House voted Tuesday night 69-43 to approve the bill, after a debate in which Democratic lawmakers took issue with the cost and constitutionality of the bill.

"If you happen to have an accent you're going to be subject to this," one representative said. "How long can you hold someone on the side of the road while you check their legality? What happens if you hold somebody for hours because you can't get a response from the federal government?"

As you can see, the immigration laws in South Carolina and other states are becoming very complex. Contact an experienced immigration attorney in your state for help getting an immigrant visa or green card.

Source: Fox4kc.com, "South Carolina House passes illegal immigration bill," 5/25/2011.

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