As we reported last week, the new immigration law in South Carolina has been challenged by the United States federal government. This week, it was announced that 16 Latin American nations have asked to join the federal government's lawsuit against South Carolina's anti-illegal immigration law.
Ultimately, the controversial law is aimed at deterring undocumented immigrants from residing in the state by requiring police officers who make traffic stops to ask for an individual's immigration status if they suspect that the person may be in the county illegally. As we have said before, opponents of the law believe that it would support racial profiling and discrimination.
In its lawsuit, the United States government argues that the law should be prevented from taking effect in January because it allows a state to set immigration policy, a function that only the federal government has authority to oversee.
Latin American countries including Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile are just some of the countries that have joined the United States government in opposition of the law.
In the past, Mexico has taken a stand against another state's immigration law as well. In June of last year, Mexico petitioned a U.S. federal court to deem Arizona's immigration law unconstitutional. In that case, the country argued that the law, which is similar to South Carolina's, put its own interests and its citizens' rights at risk.
Just like in the case of the challenged Arizona immigration law, it will be up to a federal judge to determine the constitutionality of the South Carolina immigration law. After a decision is made, appeals could likely follow. As you can see, immigration continues to be a complex and important issue in this area of the world.
Source: Fox News Latino, "South Carolina Immigration Law Challenged by 16 Nations," Nov. 9, 2011.