Residents of South Carolina may have heard about the infamous shooting death of a woman at a San Francisco pier that took place about a year ago. The shooter who killed the 32-year-old woman was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who was facing drug charges. The fatal incident brought attention to the controversial idea of 'sanctuary cities," places where local authorities refuse to communicate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
While certain states such as Colorado have legalized marijuana, it is still illegal at the federal level. For those who are non-citizens, admitting to smoking, possessing or distributing it could be an offense punishable by deportation. This may be true even if an individual is not convicted of any crime. One woman was detained at LAX for 15 hours before being sent back to Chile for admitting she had smoked marijuana while in Colorado.
According to immigration laws, individuals seeking citizenship must possess good moral character. While this seems like a subjective benchmark, those seeking to naturalize in states like South Carolina can prove their character by demonstrating that they haven't committed actions that might indicate they're lacking in positive qualities.
Border security and immigration have been hot-button topics in South Carolina and around the country during the 2016 primary season, but recent research suggests that increased scrutiny of those crossing the U.S. Mexican border does little to keep illegal immigrants out and mainly serves to prevent immigrants already in the United States from leaving. The study was published in the March 2016 edition of the American Journal of Sociology.