An immigration subcommittee in South Carolina addressed an Arizona-style bill during the last legislative session but time ran out for it to get approval. A new bill is being planned to be filed for the 2011 session, and pre-filing begins in December. Currently statewide hearings are being held on the proposed bill.
Opponents to the Arizona style immigration bill spoke load and clearly last night asking senators to drop the idea.
“This law is advocating for the persecution of people because of the color of their skin,” said Julie Smithwick-Leone, a West Columbia resident. “That’s not a community I would be proud to live in.”
Several people mentioned the states budget crisis and pointed out that the state is not able to pay for new jails, training for the officers and other expenses the law would create.
“Our budget is busted,” said Barbara Coleman of Columbia. “We cannot fund some of the mandates we already have in our immigration law.”
“I would also like to say undocumented immigrants are not all criminals as other people have stated,” said Maria Smoak, who works with immigrant families at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Assembly Street. “They are not all here to rape or steal or pillage or do drugs. Our stand is they are all children of God.”
Both sides of the debate spoke passionately about their views, with many of those who support the bill blaming illegal immigrants for economic problems and crime.