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What does Arizona v. United States mean for South Carolina?

Earlier this summer, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on Arizona's controversial immigration law. South Carolina is one of the states that followed in the footsteps of Arizona by enacting a similar immigration law. The question is, what does the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's law mean for South Carolina's law?

First, let's discuss what was decided in the Supreme Court case on Arizona's harsh law known as SB 1070. Ultimately, three clauses were ruled unconstitutional, including one that makes it a crime for undocumented immigrants to request work in the state; another that allows police to arrest people without a warrant for simply being in the country illegally; and a third that requires immigrants to always carry their federally-issued papers.

The portion that was allowed to stand is known as the "show me your papers" clause and directs police officers to ask people for proof of their immigration status during any arrest if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally.

South Carolina's law known as SB 20 consists of similar provisions. That and many other provisions of the law were challenged by the federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union in 2011, which argued that the state lacked authority to enact such law and that it promoted racial profiling.

Subsequently, a federal judge ordered an injection blocking many of the provisions, including the "show me your papers" clause. In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision, the same federal judge said he does not have the authority to lift the injunction because the case was appealed by the state before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

The judge explained that the appellate court must now issue a ruling on the case or return the case to him to reconsider in light of the Supreme Court ruling. Therefore, the "show me your papers" provision and others are still blocked in South Carolina. Even so, South Carolina state police have already started a training program for officers to enforce this part of the state law.

It remains to be seen exactly how the appellate court will handle the appeal. We will keep you updated.

Source: Fox News Latino, "Aspects of South Carolina Immigration Law Remain Blocked," July 10, 2012

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