Much like its neighbor a few hundred miles west across the great state of Georgia, South Carolina’s recent immigration law is under scrutiny by the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday sought an injunction in South Carolina against portions of its state law, signed June 27 and set to take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
The South Carolina law is facing similar criticism to Alabama’s legislation over regulations requiring police to check the status of suspected illegals if they’re detained for a separate offense. South Carolina also makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.
The DOJ wrote in a filing to the Charleston Division of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina that the government has pre-eminent authority to regulate immigration matters under the U.S. Constitution.
Despite the significant outcry against these stringent new immigration laws and the DOJ’s protests, in late September, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn upheld significant sections of Alabama’s law, stating that they aren’t pre-empted by federal regulations.
In her decision, Judge Blackburn let stand provisions authorizing police to check detainees’ immigration status as well as public schools’ ability to verify students’ status. However, she enjoined regulations that criminalize illegals from applying for jobs and people from concealing, harboring or shielding illegals.
For more on the battle in South Carolina, read Reuters.