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South Carolina immigration law scrutinized by Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice is undertaking a review of a recently passed South Carolina immigration law that becomes effective at the start of 2012. A spokesman for the department indicated that it was fully prepared to file a lawsuit against the state if it determines that the state statute interferes with the federal government's implementation of immigration laws.

Under the provisions of the new state statute, local police would be mandated to notify immigration personnel anytime they have a suspicion that a foreign national lacks documents authorizing their presence in the nation. Both state and local police would also be ordered, under the state law, to make inquiries into an individual's immigration status when they believe it is possible that they are undocumented.

These measures were added to already harsh laws previously enacted in South Carolina which make life difficult for undocumented immigrants. A state statute passed in 2008 attempts to prevent businesses in the state from providing gainful employment to undocumented immigrants. That law mandates that employers themselves act as immigration law enforcers by screening job applicants for immigration status through the use of the E-Verify database.

The South Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has announced its intentions to challenge to the new law in court on the basis that it will lead to discriminatory law enforcement action against Latinos and encourage racial profiling.

Organizations in the Latino community in South Carolina have also been critical of the new law, contending that it will have an adverse effect on residents on the basis of their race or national origin.

The times are only getting tougher for undocumented immigrants living in South Carolina. There is no better time than now to make an effort to become a legal immigrant in the United States. Talk to a trusted immigration attorney in your area who can help with the immigration and naturalization process.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Feds target South Carolina immigration law," Robert Behre, Sept. 30, 2011.

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