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Many South Carolina farmers oppose immigration bill

As we recently discussed, the fate of South Carolina's controversial immigration bill that would require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they suspect could be illegal immigrants and would punish businesses for hiring undocumented workers will not be decided until lawmakers return for a special session on June 14.

The law, which has already been approved by the House and Senate and just needs the re-approval of the Senate and the acceptance of the governor, has people across the state divided.

Some argue that the legislation is needed to for security and financial reasons. But others say that the proposed immigration law will have negative effects on society and will scare away important immigrant workers from the state.

Recently, one tobacco farmer from Horry County told Channel 15 News that he is already having trouble finding workers to help harvest his 85 acres of fields. He believes that immigrant workers in the area have been scared off by the talk of immigration reform in the state.

"It's a big deal to us because without immigration labor, we wouldn't be able to survive. There are no American workers who actually do the work and consistently come back," he said.

Even immigrants who are in the country legally are afraid of what the legislation could mean for them and their families, the farmer said.

"I've got a guy here who is legal and been here for ten to 12 years. He's scared to death because he's heard stories of people getting locked up who were legal immigrants," the farmer told Channel 15 News.

It's a stressful time for immigrants in South Carolina and across the country with all of this talk about immigration reform and strict laws going into effect in several states. However, there are many resources available for immigrants to help understand the changes made to the laws and to find out more about the immigration process.

If you or someone you know needs help applying for a visa or permanent residency, contact an immigration attorney in your area for assistance. You do not need to go through this process alone.

Source: Channel 15 News, "Farmers react to possible immigration reform," Ryan Naquin, 6/3/20011.

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