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Immigration Pushed To The Forefront Again.... Thanks! To Everyone Who Has Propelled This Issue To Its' Rightful Position. Years Of Hard Work Are Paying Off.....Keep Up The Good Work!......
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:17 PM
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Default ACLU leads federal immigration lawsuit with Charleston County focus

ACLU leads federal immigration lawsuit with Charleston County focus
South Carolina could be blocked by a federal judge before the state gets a chance to enforce its new law aimed at forcing illegal immigrants across the border. The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday led a coalition of civil rights organizations, labor groups and individuals to file a federal suit Wednesday in Charleston district court to throw out the law. In January, the measure would require law enforcement officers to check immigration status during a traffic stop or an arrest if they suspect the person is in the country illegally.
Gov. Nikki Haley, state Attorney General Alan Wilson, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon are the defendants.
Plaintiffs in the suit include the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition; the Charleston-based Mujeres de Triunfo; Nuevos Caminos, which serves the tri-county area; and the Service Employees International Union.
Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU's state chapter, said the law is unconstitutional, interferes with federal law and will lead to racial profiling. The suit names several foreign-born residents, some of them anonymous, including "John Doe" of Johns Island and "Jane Doe #1" of North Charleston, as being among those who could be harmed by the new law.
"By requiring local law enforcement officials to act as immigration agents, this law invites discrimination against anyone who looks or sounds 'foreign,' including American citizens and legal residents," Middleton said in a statement.
Nonsense, said Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau.
"I am not afraid of the ACLU," Grooms said. "I am afraid of the devastating effects of illegal immigration in this nation and this state."
Can the law survive?
The suit marks the latest wrangling over the state's controversial get-tough approach to illegal immigration that started at least four years ago when Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell called for a national constitutional convention to empower the states against Washington's failure to act.
Related document
Immigration lawsuit against South Carolina
The law is under review for a potential legal challenge by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is studying similar anti-illegal immigration laws in Utah, Indiana and Georgia.
Grooms was one of the Legislature's biggest champions of the law, which was signed by the governor in June. Grooms said the law was carefully crafted to stand up to a court challenge. He said he is worried that the ACLU and its coalition will hold the bill hostage with a series of court-sponsored delaying tactics.
Who gets hurt?
Grooms and other supporters of the law see illegal immigrants as a drain on the state's resources, through public schools and social services that are available to their children. Grooms also said the lifestyle perpetuates crime, in part because illegal immigrants are afraid to report when they've been victimized out of fear of deportation.
To the other side, including Andre Segura, an ACLU lawyer with the Immigrants' Rights Project, the "draconian law must be blocked, as it tramples our American values, interferes with federal laws and risks turning South Carolina into a police state."
The lawsuit charges that South Carolina's law subjects citizens and lawful immigrants to unlawful searches, requires law enforcement to demand a person's "papers" -- akin to communist practices in foreign countries -- and makes South Carolinians criminals for "everyday interactions with undocumented individuals, such as driving someone to church or renting a room to a friend."
After a similar law went into effect in Alabama two weeks ago, the ACLU maintains that families have been afraid to leave their homes and individuals have been stopped and questioned about their immigration status.
To "Jane Doe #1" of North Charleston, a Mexican national and one of the suit's unidentified plaintiffs, the law could mean separation from her husband and U.S.-born children. Without an S.C. driver's license, or any picture ID, she could be subject to police interrogation and detention under the new law, according to the suit.
Wait for Washington?
Sheriff Cannon said the federal government is derelict in "one of the most fundamental duties of a sovereign nation."
Even so, Cannon said his deputies can step in. Enforcing the new law by checking a suspect's immigration status is not an added burden, he said.
"They will just have to run information on another database, which is what they do anyway," Cannon said.
Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, said the law never should have passed. Ford said he wants President Barack Obama and Congress to "come to their senses" and pass nationwide reform.
Ford participated in a series of legislative hearings across the state, designed to get feedback before the bill was drafted. He said most of the feedback at the hearings was split between those sympathetic to illegal immigrants and those who wanted to kick them out of the state. The laws in South Carolina, Alabama and other states with similar laws have gone too far, he said.
"I am glad to see the challenge, but it is regrettable that we have to go that route," Ford said. "This is about the most mean-spirited action to be taken against anybody on this planet to become a citizen."
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2...aw-challenged/
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