Some Charleston residents, like many people in the rest of the United States, are anxiously awaiting important decisions regarding immigration reform. Immigration is already a challenging area of law, and the effects of the immigration reform stall in Congress has effected local laws in various states and communities.
Various towns in states other than South Carolina are fearful that the federal government is not adequately enforcing immigration laws. In response to this, the towns attempted to enact laws that would have been tough on illegal immigrants. The local ordinances were housing related. Under the laws, tenants would have been required to provide identification that could be checked by immigration authorities. Some of the laws would also penalize landlords who rented housing to illegal immigrants. Another ordinance would penalize employers for hiring illegal immigrants.
Federal courts in these states concluded that federal immigration law these local provisions. Now, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals by these towns at a time when immigration reform has come to a halt in Congress. The last major immigration case the Supreme Court decided was in 2012, when it upheld parts of Arizona's immigration law.
Understanding the various immigration laws is a difficult task. On top of that, immigration is in the process of undergoing major reform. It is important that immigrants understand they have a right to due process when facing deportation. In addition, they have the ability to appeal decisions before they are deported. When facing deportation or other immigration proceedings, there are many time sensitive filing and appeal deadlines. Also, as this story illustrates, local governments may attempt to enforce various ordinances against immigrants.
Even though immigration law is in transition, one still has rights. Those facing immigration related issues should make sure their rights are protected. Immigration experts are able to evaluate one's case and make sure that all issues are addressed and defended with care and attention to detail.
Source: Reuters, "U.S. Supreme Court declines immigration cases", March 3, 2014