Photo: Elaine Lacy, one of many fighting against South Carolina's immigration bill
In South Carolina, it appears that the push against legislatures’ most recent immigration bill is coming from women, as they and their children have kept a steady and watchful eye on an Arizona-style bill that could mean drastic change for their families.
Having already passed in the Senate, the bill is now under consideration with the House judiciary subcommittee. If passed, it would create a statewide Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit which would be under the supervision of South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
And as many continue their fight against it, a large number of those protesting and organizing are women, who often see first-hand the effects of harsh immigration law. As the arguments against the bill revolve around religious views, human rights concerns and civil rights issues, all issues women tend to be more involved in than their mail counterparts.
Elaine Lacy, a professor at USC-Aiken, suspects this could be due to a woman’s tendency to be “more compassionate.” She adds that “more women than men are involved in social services and therefore see the needs of the Latino community, and women tend to be more active in church work, and churches are among the groups opposing the bill.” Lacy has done a substantial amount of research on the Latinos of South Carolina.
The bill, which is expected to be taken up this week would require all police officers to check the residency status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
The Senate’s proposed budget already includes $1.3 million meant for the start-up of the 12-person unit and outfit it with cars.
“It is an issue for women,” said the director of USC’s Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, Myriam Torres. She adds that the bill is a threat to families, as it intends to deport undocumented immigrants, resulting in separated families, since members of Latino families are often made up of those who in the country legally, and illegally.