South Carolina Version of Arizona Law Imminent

In the next few weeks Governor Nikki Haley is expected to sign an immigration reform bill modeled after the Arizona law that has been garnering much attention. The new law will require local officers to check a person’s immigration status during routine traffic stops or an arrest if the officer feels that the person may be an illegal immigrant. If the person detained is deemed illegal, then the officer will notify the federal government so that they might take further action. However, the local police officers do not have jurisdiction to deport illegal immigrants themselves, so if the federal government fails to respond, the police can only detain the person to the extent that the original crime warranted it.

Charleston County alone has turned more than 900 illegal immigrants over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This number will almost certainly escalate as local authorities are called to task for what has been substantially a federal issue. Not only the illegal immigrants but also the businesses that hire illegal immigrants are at risk as well. In the past two years businesses have been fined more than $1.6 million. However, the majority of these fines were waived due to a notice requirement. Businesses were afforded 72 hours of notice in order to become compliant before a fine could be issued under the previous bill. It is unclear if a notice requirement will be present in the new bill. What is clear is that the new immigration bill will drastically change South Carolina’s position on immigration.

Miller|Conway is a full-service Goose Creek law firm that serves clients throughout Charleston County, South Carolina and nationally. If you or somebody you know has issue related to immigration please contact our attorneys to schedule a free consultation.

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