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Latino Daily News

Thursday July 15, 2010

South Carolina’s Growing Face of Intolerance

As the state legislature of South Carolina considers enacting illegal immigration laws similar to Arizona SB1070, other cities and counties throughout the state are crafting illegal alien legislation on their own.  Case in point, yesterday’s vote in Summerville, South Carolina’s city council that would ban the hiring of illegals and bar them from living in Summerville. 

The suburb with 42,000 residents, once known as the summer enclave of slave-owning plantation owners, doesn’t on the surface have reason to feel a threat from illegal immigration, its economic fallout, nor does it face border issues like Arizona.  With only 800 plus Hispanics living in the town it somehow felt compelled to draft and propose their own version of SB 1070.  Its demographics also do not fit the profile of a besieged municipality with 77% of residents white, affluent and Hispanic’s constituting the smallest minority at 2% of the population, according to current census figures.

The Summerville’s law that is currently under city legal review will be voted on August 11th.  The ordinance, if passed, was justified by city officials as “needed because the federal government is not doing enough to prevent illegal immigration.”  It is unclear how a small predominantly white suburb in South Carolina has deemed itself capable of doing the job of the federal government since there are numerous county and state illegal alien laws on the books. 

Could it be that Summerville and most of South Carolina, including Republican Governor Mark Sanford is reacting to current census figures that showed the biggest percentage increase of the Hispanic population had occurred in their state?  Nonetheless, there are approximately little more than 150,000 Hispanics in the state and 850 of them in Summerville. 

Or could it be that Summerville wants to voice its support to state bill “Illegal Aliens Enforcement” introduced in April 2010 calling for warrantless arrests for those suspected of being in the country illegally, fining those not carrying papers; and making it illegal to work in the state in any capacity without documentation. For a full copy of the proposed legislation go to HSN Library

Regardless of Summerville’s motives or South Carolina’s there is a growing pallor of intolerance and racial isolation, which a state with a history of slavery and lynching cannot afford.

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