Last year, South Carolina lawmakers passed immigration reform that drew harsh opposition. Before the laws were set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, they were challenged by the federal government and civil rights groups for being unconstitutional. A federal district court judge ended up blocking much of the law, including the controversial "show me your papers" provision.
This provision instructs police officers to check the immigration status of people they pull over if they suspect that the people could be in the country illegally. Arizona also adopted similar immigration reform -- including a "show me your papers provision -- which was also challenged by the federal government. The case ended up before the Supreme Court earlier this year.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked several of Arizona's immigration provisions for being unconstitutional, but held that there was not enough evidence to prove that the "show me your papers" was unconstitutional, so it remained intact. Following this decision, the South Carolina federal district court judge lifted the injunction on South Carolina's "show me your papers" provision.
But South Carolina officials want more of the law to stand. Last week, the state attorney general announced that the state is appealing the decision to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In court filings, the state is asking that the injunction should be lifted on other provisions as well, including one that makes it a state crime not to carry immigration paperwork.
It will be interesting to see how this appeal is received as the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation, has already struck down similar provisions adopted by Arizona. In court papers, the South Carolina AG argues that it is the state's job -- not the government's -- to keep track of illegal immigrants the state.
Source: NECN, "SC appealing decision in immigration lawsuit," Dec. 10, 2012