Federal Judge Blocks Parts of S.C. Immigration Law

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
12/27/2011
       
Federal Judge Blocks Parts of S.C. Immigration Law

A judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina issued a preliminary injunction on December 22 against key provisions of the South Carolina immigration statute. The plaintiffs in the case include a group of civil rights organizations and the United States Department of Justice.

Of the 20 sections of the South Carolina law, four of them were challenged and are now blocked from enforcement. These four include provisions which that state criminal sanctions for: “harboring and transporting of unlawfully present persons”; “failure to carry alien registration materials”; “the creation of fraudulent identification documents”; and the directive to state and local law enforcement officials to “determine the immigration status of certain persons encountered in routine traffic stops and other contacts in which there is a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person may be in the United States unlawfully.”
 
The civil rights groups challenging the law argue that enforcement of the law requires de facto racial profiling. The Justice Department argues that the Constitution places all power over the establishment of immigration policy in the hands of the federal government and that the legislature of South Carolina is thus preempted from passing legislation in that area of the law.

A judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina issued a preliminary injunction on December 22 against key provisions of the South Carolina immigration statute. The plaintiffs in the case include a group of civil rights organizations and the United States Department of Justice.

Of the 20 sections of the South Carolina law, four of them were challenged and are now blocked from enforcement. These four include provisions which that state criminal sanctions for: “harboring and transporting of unlawfully present persons”; “failure to carry alien registration materials”; “the creation of fraudulent identification documents”; and the directive to state and local law enforcement officials to “determine the immigration status of certain persons encountered in routine traffic stops and other contacts in which there is a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person may be in the United States unlawfully.”
 
The civil rights groups challenging the law argue that enforcement of the law requires de facto racial profiling. The Justice Department argues that the Constitution places all power over the establishment of immigration policy in the hands of the federal government and that the legislature of South Carolina is thus preempted from passing legislation in that area of the law.

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