S.C. House approves immigration crackdown bill

 

The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Those suspected of being in the country illegally soon may have to prove they are U.S. citizens, at least in South Carolina.

S.C. House members approved an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigrants by a 69-43 vote. The bill requires law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they pull over for traffic violations or stop on suspicion of other violations.

After one more perfunctory vote, the bill, which the House amended, heads back to the Senate, which previously approved it.

If the Senate goes along with the amendments, South Carolina will become one of a growing number of states adopting immigration laws, traditionally an area overseen by the federal government. But Arizona, Utah and Georgia have adopted similar laws, saying the federal government has failed to stem a flow of illegal immigrants into the country.

S.C. House Republicans said Tuesday the bill will halt the influx of illegal immigrants into the state, making it safer and ensuring jobs go to legal residents.

“This bill gives our state’s law enforcement officers another valuable tool to use in the day-to-day fight they wage to enforce our immigration laws,” said House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston.

Supporters said the proposal is a needed change.

“It’s time we did something about it,” said Roan Garcia-Quintana, a Greenville County immigration reform activist who supports the bill. “We cannot accommodate everyone who needs help and comes here. We cannot accommodate everyone in our hospitals, our schools. We didn’t ask them to come here.”

House Democrats denounced the bill as racial profiling that will make a suspect of every Hispanic-American, burden cash-strapped local police and clog already-crowded jails.

“This is a joke. It is a hoax,” said state Rep. Joe Neal, D-Richland, who opposed the bill. “It’s designed to make people feel good, but it does nothing to make America safer. It is an attempt to demonize a portion of our population.”

Hispanics make up about 5 percent of the S.C. population, more than double from 10 times ago.

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.

Read more Immigration stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category