U.S. Challenges South Carolina Immigration Law
The lawsuit argues the provision requiring law enforcement officers to call federal immigration authorities if there is a question about a person’s immigration status unconstitutional. The law specifically states that a person cannot be held by authorities solely based on suspicion of his or her immigration status.
Another provision of the law requires businesses to check the legal status of new employees through an online federal system. Any business that hires undocumented workers will be subject to revocation of its business license under the new law.
In the filing, the Justice Department also argued that immigration legislation should fall to Congress alleging the South Carolina law “conflicts with and otherwise stands as an obstacle to Congress's demand for sufficient flexibility in the enforcement of federal immigration law to accommodate the competing interests of immigration control, national security and public safety, humanitarian concerns, and foreign relations."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement Monday about the filing. “It is understandable that communities remain frustrated with the broken immigration system, but a patchwork of state laws is not the solution and will only create problems.”
The lawsuit marked the third time the Obama administration sued a state over an immigration-related law in federal court. The Justice Department previously filed suit to block enactment of similar laws in Arizona and Alabama. Officials say the administration remains in discussion with state officials in Utah, Indiana and Georgia – states that have also passed immigration legislation in the past year.
The South Carolina law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.
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