Photo: South Carolina Sued by DOJ Over Immigration Law
The Department of Justice challenged South Carolina’s recently passed immigration law, Act No. 69, in federal court.
In a complaint, filed in the District of South Carolina, the department states that certain provisions of Act No. 69, as enacted by the state on June 27, 2011, are unconstitutional and interfere with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, explaining that “the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.” South Carolina’s law clearly conflicts with the policies and priorities adopted by the federal government and therefore cannot stand.
South Carolina’s law is designed to further criminalize unauthorized immigrants and, like the Arizona and Alabama laws, expands the opportunity for police to push unauthorized immigrants towards incarceration for various new immigration crimes by enforcing an immigration status verification system.
Similar to Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and Alabama’s H.B. 56, this law will place significant burdens on federal agencies, diverting their resources away from high-priority targets, such as terrorism, drug smuggling and gang activity, and those with criminal records. In addition, the law’s mandates on law enforcement will also result in the harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens, who cannot readily prove their lawful status.
The department filed the lawsuit after consultation with the South Carolina attorney general and South Carolina law enforcement officials. The suit was filed on behalf of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and State, which share responsibilities in administering federal immigration law.