According to a new report from the political blog The Hill, South Carolina has become a battleground in the fight over immigration reform. The Hill reported that the state is important in the immigration debate because of its demographics, culture and political standings. For that reason, groups from both sides of the political issue are launching campaigns in the state.
A coalition of pro-immigration reform groups launched a campaign this week praising Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on his bipartisan pro-reform efforts in the Senate. Meanwhile, a group that strongly opposes immigration reform just launched the first commercials against Sen. Graham, in hopes of unseating the seasoned senator in the next election.
In addition to Sen. Graham, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is an important immigration voice coming from the state as he heads the House Judiciary Committee's Immigration panel, which will play an important role in shaping a potential House bill on immigration reform.
"When you look at South Carolina, it is such a leader for the rest of the country on a lot of these issues. It has agriculture, it has business, it has faith, it has tourism," the director of Partnership for a New American Economy, a non-partisan business group that supports immigration reform, told The Hill. He added that the state is a "great platform to start [immigration reform]."
Because South Carolina is traditionally very conservative, The Hill reported that the state's stance on immigration reform in the upcoming months could help indicate whether the Republican Party's view on immigration has changed since the last presidential election, when it became clear that Republicans are in desperate need of minority votes.
Source: The Hill, "Immigration fight turns focus to SC," Cameron Joseph, March 13, 2013