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Justice sues South Carolina on illegal immigration

On Oct. 31, 2011, the Department of Justice challenged South Carolina’s new immigration legislation in Federal Court. The complaint said ‘certain provisions of Act No. 69 are unconstitutional and interfere with the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration policy.’ The press release also indicated the department will soon seek a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of the law.

The lawsuit names Gov. Nikki Haley as a defendant. Gov. Haley is a Republican and the daughter of legal immigrants from India. Her spokesman said the state was forced to pass this legislation because there is no strong federal immigration law.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Tony West said the law crosses the constitutional line. According to McClatchy Newspapers, West said that a good indication of the illegality of the bill is based on Haley’s own statements at the signing ceremony. Haley said the intent of the law ‘was to make sure illegal immigrants find another state to go to.’ He also stated that pushing undocumented individuals out of one state and into another is simply not a solution to our immigration challenges, saying it creates more problems than it solves.

South Carolina follows Arizona and Alabama as the third state to be sued by the federal government over state laws enacted to strengthen immigration laws within each states jurisdiction. The suit doesn’t propose the legislation would cause the police to violate constitutional rights of legal immigrants of U.S. citizens; however, ‘it may create a significant risk of harassment of lawfully present aliens and even U.S. citizens,’ reports

In the past decade, approximately 14 million legal and illegal immigrants have entered our country, making the foreign born population at 40 million of our 310 million populations. Salaries and jobs have declined in the last decade leaving 14 million unemployed here. South Carolina’s unemployment rate is 11% as opposed to the national average of 9%.


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