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SANCTUARY CITIES AND STATES
INFORMATION RESOURCE

SOUTH CAROLINA IS NOT A SANCTUARY STATE


Farm Bureau: New immigration law means problems
Times and Democrat, June 9, 2008

COLUMBIA - While continuing to call for a federal solution to the nation’s immigration issues, the president of South Carolina’s largest general farm organization called the immigration law enacted by the General Assembly and signed by the governor, “trouble for family farmers and small businesses.”

South Carolina Farm Bureau President David Winkles said, “What we have is a state law that is different from federal law and could unintentionally cause business owners and farmers to violate federal employment laws. In the legislature’s efforts to throw voters a line to resolve immigration issues, it has instead provided just enough rope so business owners and individuals can hang themselves.”
S.C. businesses face deadline to comply with state law aimed at illegal immigration
By NOELLE PHILLIPS for the McClatchy Newspapers, June 8, 2008

The clock is ticking for thousands of S.C. businesses to figure out how they will comply with a new state law aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

Beginning Jan. 1, any company doing business with state and local governments will have to use a federal electronic database to verify new workers' names and Social Security numbers - or require an S.C. driver's license from newly hired workers.

By July 2010, all employers will have to comply.

The intent of the law, signed by Gov. Mark Sanford last week, is to discourage illegal immigrants from moving into the state by making it difficult to find a job.

Legislators said the law is the toughest in the nation.
Strong illegal immigration bill biggest legislative achievement
Charleston Post and Courier, June 7, 2008

Legislation to stem the flow of illegal immigration into South Carolina is the major accomplishment of this year's session, just ended. South Carolina employers will no longer be able to wink at restrictions on hiring illegals, just because Congress has been unwilling to offer meaningful enforcement of existing laws.

The hard work by legislators, encouraged by the prodding of Gov. Mark Sanford, may actually encourage a similar federal response as other states also make their dissatisfaction clear. Thanks to their joint efforts, South Carolina will be leading the nation with one of the toughest laws on record.

The immigration bill represents a major achievement for Gov. Sanford, and his legislative allies who were responsible for passage of an identification system that would do more than duplicate the easily evaded verification system that is part of the federal law. Thanks to their persistence, the state will be able to fill the verification and enforcement vacuum left by the federal government.
Sanford, lawmakers spar over budget, agree on immigration
By Andrew Moore, Upstate Today, June 6, 2008

COLUMBIA — Gov. Mark Sanford and the state’s legislative branch saw both agreement and contention on different items in the last few days before the legislature’s session came to an end Thursday evening.

After passing the House and the Senate, an immigration bill Rep. Bill Sandifer said was among the strongest in the nation, was signed into law by Sanford on Wednesday.

Sanford and Sandifer said the bill’s passage was the result of hard work and spirited debate within both houses of the legislature and that the final product pleased all parties concerned.
Immigration rules flawed but now law
Beaufort Gazette, June 5, 2008

The devil now is in the details of an S.C. immigration law signed by Gov. Mark

Sanford in a public ceremony Wednesday afternoon. The largest of the details will be enforcement.

attaches South Carolina to a growing list of states that have passed laws to handle a federal issue that Congress continues to ignore.

Congress shouldn't ignore it for long because a key provision of the S.C. law, the E-verify program, will expire in November if Congress doesn't renew it, and the Palmetto State delegation should lead the movement for approval, along with a significant national immigration plan.
Advocate group urges Sanford to veto immigration bill
AP, June 3, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. --Advocates for Hispanics in South Carolina asked Gov. Mark Sanford on Tuesday to veto legislation meant to clamp down on illegal immigration.

Diana Salazar, director of the Latino Association of Charleston, joined more than a dozen other advocates in asking Sanford to reconsider his promise to sign the bill. Salazar said the bill is unfair and unnecessarily burdens small businesses.

The bill was given final approval last week after months of political wrangling between the House and Senate. It would require all employers to make sure their employees are in the country legally. It also would ban illegal immigrants from attending public colleges.

Salazar said the bill will hurt the state's tourism-dependent economy. She said amnesty is needed for immigrants who have been here for years and just want to provide for their families.
South Carolina man gets 1-year sentence in immigration case
AP June 2, 2008

JACKSON, Miss. — A South Carolina man has been sentenced to a year in prison on charges of flying illegal immigrants between Texas and South Carolina.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said James Leroy Pierson was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. Pierson had pleaded guilty to the charge in March.

Prosecutors said customs agents tracked Pierson's plane when it left McAllen, Texas, on January 28 with a destination of Clemson, S.C. When the plane landed in Meridian, Pierson and four passengers were taken into custody.

Custom agents said the passengers admitted to being illegal immigrants.
Immigration bill clears South Carolina House - Governor says he'll sign measure requiring verification of workers' legal status
By Tim Smith for the Greenville News, May 30, 2008

COLUMBIA -- After years of wrestling, the Legislature on Thursday gave final approval to a compromise immigration bill that will require all employers in the state to verify the legal status of new workers.

The House voted 94-16 to concur with a proposal approved by the Senate this week, sending the bill to Gov. Mark Sanford, who said he would sign it.
Feds query immigration status of DUI suspect
Island Packet, May 29, 2008

HILTON HEAD — Federal officials are investigating the immigration status of the alleged drunken driver charged in the crash that claimed the life of Bluffton High School junior Josh George as he headed home after the prom.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on 20-year-old Juan Rodriquez, who is being held on a $750,905 bond at the Beaufort County Detention Center.

The hold means Rodriquez might be deported after he is either found not guilty or serves a prison sentence, said an ICE spokesman. Citing privacy issues, ICE would not comment on whether Rodriquez is in the country legally, the spokesman said.

The hold "... means that ICE has determined that further investigation of his legal status is warranted," said Philip Foot, director of the county jail.

The jail automatically sends the name of every non-native born inmate to ICE, Foot said. A final decision on whether a suspected illegal immigrant is deported is made in an immigration court operated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Authorities still aren't sure of Rodriquez' true identity. His fingerprints were sent to the FBI, which compared them with a national database. No matches were found, said

Lt. Bryan Norberg of the Bluffton Police Department.
Lawmakers working for immigration compromise
By Zane Wilson for the Myrtle Beach Sun News, May 27, 2008

Immigration was not discussed on the House or Senate floor at all last week, after weeks of hot debate. But that doesn't mean nothing was going on.

Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, the Senate's leader and a prime proponent of state immigration control laws, said last week that he has been working with the House leadership on another attempt at a compromise bill.

He said any action needs consensus in the Senate, then with the House. He outlined his plan, but said he will present something in writing on Tuesday. He also set debate on the issue for Tuesday.

All session, the immigration topic has been at the forefront, but legislators have not been able to agree on the details of enforcement or the state's rights.

Most lawmakers want to require all employers to use the federal online immigration status verification system, but many are also concerned about small businesses and rural employers who may not have access to computers or the Internet.


S.C. candidates for U.S. Senate seat taking stands as primary approaches
By Michele Byrd/Scripps Howard Foundation wire, May 24, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Lindsey Graham is too liberal for South Carolina.

At least that’s a sentiment some conservatives voice. However, the real question is: Are voters mad enough to oust the charismatic senator?

Lexington orthodontist and Senate candidate Buddy Witherspoon hopes the answer is yes.
New immigration plan surfaces
By Tim Smith by Greenville News, May 23, 2008

COLUMBIA -- With time running out for this year's legislative session, a Senate leader on Thursday proposed yet another immigration reform compromise, one that he said largely has the blessing of House leaders.

The plan, which Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell handed out for senators to study over the holiday weekend, is similar to his most recent proposal with the exception of the worker verification system.

McConnell said the new plan would allow employers five days from the time a new employee is hired before they must use the federal electronic verification system, E-verify, to check on the legal status of the worker. They could also use a South Carolina driver's license or a driver's license from another state with document requirements that are just as stringent as South Carolina's.

His former plan included a "good faith" provision -- now gone -- that would have shielded employers from penalties if they kept the documents workers submitted when they were hired.
South Carolina immigration bills please few - Businesses, farmers, activists find lawmakers' proposals unsatisfying
By Tim Smith by Greenville News, May 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — While the lack of progress thus far on immigration policy is frustrating many legislators, some outside the Statehouse say they are even more unhappy.

“It’s very discouraging to know you have people down there who can’t make a decision,” said Clemson City Councilwoman Margaret Thompson, an advocate for immigration changes. “I think they all need to go.”

Representatives from business and farming, as well as organizations seeking to cut the flow of illegal immigration in the state, say they are not satisfied with what is being offered now in legislation. Some say they would rather have nothing than what might be produced in the last nine days of the legislative session.
Confusion grows on immigration bills with time running out in legislative session - Legislators say informal talks this weekend are critical
By Tim Smith by Greenville News, May 16, 2008

COLUMBIA -- After years of hearings and months of debate, the fate of immigration legislation in the state General Assembly may boil down to informal talks among legislators this weekend, some lawmakers said Thursday.

With nine legislative days left in the session, lawmakers are faced with the choice of new negotiations over a House plan rejected Wednesday by the Senate or debating a wholly new proposal by a Senate leader.

Some senators said they are willing to delay acting on a state budget if no immigration plan passes, while others said they may be willing to go home without passing an immigration bill if the only plan being offered has what they call constitutional problems

Sen. David Thomas, a Greenville County Republican, said Thursday he doesn’t plan to remove his objection to a new plan by Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell because he believes it has problems and would only make the public more confused about what is happening. Thomas placed his objection on the bill Wednesday, temporarily halting any consideration of the plan.

Meanwhile, many legislators, including some from the Upstate, said residents are tired of excuses and want something done.
Confusion grows on immigration bills with time running out in legislative session - Legislators say informal talks this weekend are critical
By Tim Smith by Greenville News, May 15, 2008

COLUMBIA -- After years of hearings and months of debate, the fate of immigration legislation in the state General Assembly may boil down to informal talks among legislators this weekend, some lawmakers said Thursday.

With nine legislative days left in the session, lawmakers are faced with the choice of new negotiations over a House plan rejected Wednesday by the Senate or debating a wholly new proposal by a Senate leader.

Some senators said they are willing to delay acting on a state budget if no immigration plan passes, while others said they may be willing to go home without passing an immigration bill if the only plan being offered has what they call constitutional problems
Senate should now approve immigration reform bill
The Post and Courier, May 10, 2008

Immigration reform has gone through some dizzying paces this session, batted back and forth between the House and the Senate, stymied in conference, revived in the Senate, and now amended in the House. Fortunately, the House has sent back to the Senate a bill that incorporates the best of all the versions. The Senate should concur with the House changes and end this contentious fight.

In effect, the House amendments have resulted in a bill much like that sanctioned by the conferees, but in limbo due to a rules technicality. The Senate improved on a House bill passed early in the session by requiring all private employers to verify the legal status of their employees as opposed to only those who do business with government agencies. But a number of Senate leaders charged that improvement was negated when the Senate majority also insisted, at the urging of business and farm interests, on adding a third verification system known as the I-9.

The two other options were the S.C. driver's license, now considered the most credible, and the federal, computerized E-Verify, viewed as successful in a number of other states. Critics of the I-9 federal paper verification system contend that opponents of reform insist on its inclusion because it is a proven failure.
Can states create penalties for immigration laws?
By Tim Smith for Greeville Online, May 3, 2008

COLUMBIA ó When Gov. Mark Sanford said Thursday that stiff new fines included in a Senate immigration bill were unenforceable, he said that was the opinion of the federal Department of Homeland Security.

But experts say whether states can carve out penalties for immigration violations remains a murky point and even a spokeswoman for Homeland Security refused to say what states can do. She referred The Greenville News to a specific immigration law, which spells out employment regulations for verifying the status of workers and penalties for violations but does not address state or local action.

"This is something that is stemming from Congress' failure to act on comprehensive immigration reform," said Veronica Valdes, a spokeswoman for the agency. "It's something that we predicted, where states are going to be taking matters into their own hands when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. What we have here is extremes of how states are reacting."

Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, as well as some national policy experts point to a 1986 federal immigration law that says, "The provisions of this section preempt any state or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions, other than through licensing and similar laws, upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens."

That law has thus far shaped how other states have crafted immigration reform, experts say.
Sanford issues statement on Senate’s immigration bill
The Times and Democrat, May 1, 2008

COLUMBIA -- Governor Mark Sanford today issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of their immigration “reform” bill:

“We’ve had meetings, numerous phone calls and letters back and forth with Senate Republicans over the past couple of days about the need for a strong electronic verification system , but it’s clear now that while many in the Senate talk the talk on this front, few walk the walk,” Gov. Sanford said.

“The failure by the Senate Republicans to pass the kind of bill we talked about is made worse by two things. One, the so-called filibuster that led to this compromise makes a complete mockery of what most people understand filibuster to mean. If Senate Republicans really wanted reform, they should have made the Democrats hold the floor until midnight, the next day, or the day after that. But this ‘done in time for cocktail hour’ filibuster really calls into question how serious some Republicans ever were about reform.
Ritchie insists on immigration vote - Lawmaker holds up all other bills until his put on schedule
By Robert W. Dalton for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, April 30, 2008

COLUMBIA - State Sen. Jim Ritchie on Tuesday brought the Senate to a screeching halt in an effort to work around a procedural logjam that has stymied passage of a bill that cracks down on illegal immigration.

Ritchie, R-Spartanburg, blocked everything on the Senate calendar until he could force his immigration bill to be heard.

"I said I would do everything in my power to get a strong illegal immigration bill passed this session, and that's what I'm doing," Ritchie said.
S.C. Senate finds way around immigration bill impasse
By JIM DAVENPORT for the AP, April 29, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Illegal immigrants in South Carolina would face barriers to getting employment, schooling, bail and guns under a proposal that lawmakers claim would be one of the toughest such measures in the nation.

The bill also allows lawsuits against employers from workers whose jobs were taken by illegal immigrants.

"We stand at the verge of a historic moment that would come with the passing of what many believe represents the most comprehensive immigration reform package in the country," Republican Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday in a news release.

The measure is the product of weeks of haggling between Senate and House lawmakers who were divided about how employers could best verify the nationalities of their workers.

Under the compromise, public agencies and businesses with public contracts would have to check employees' legal status with a driver's license or a federal Internet-based program.
Officials skip out on immigration bill - House, Senate still in conflict on immigration
By Zane Wilson for Myrtle Beach Online, April 25, 2008

A resolution to the House-Senate standoff on the immigration reform bill will have to wait until next week. Lawmakers adjourned Thursday after more accusations against each other but no movement toward agreement.The delay will stir up voters who are demanding immigration reform and force the Senate to act, said Rep. Thad Viers, R-Myrtle Beach, one of the three House members assigned to the conference committee that is trying to resolve differences in the two chambers' versions of the bill."This is only going to aggravate and frustrate an electorate that is already frustrated as it is," Viers said.In the House, Rep. Jim Harrison, leader of the House conference committee on the bill, said he was asked to a private meeting Thursday morning on the bill but declined.Harrison said he asked for a conference committee meeting but heard nothing back.The Senate will not sign a conference report on what they have agreed to and the House can't vote until the report is signed, Harrison said.The Senate says it can't sign the report because it needs a two-thirds vote in the House first.During debate on the Senate floor, some members acknowledged they are hearing from constituents who do not understand why the Senate won't sign an agreement with the House."This is probably the most misunderstood part of this process," said Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, who said it was hard to explain to his constituents.The disagreement is over how to approve a Senate provision making all employers verify immigration status. The House bill applied only to employers who have state or local government contracts.The House decided it would accept the Senate version, but only if the use of the I-9 form were removed.Attempts to remove it during Senate debate failed, with many saying that because the form is approved by the federal government, the state should not disapprove it.The forms are filled out and kept on file.
Immigration bill stalling as House members walk out on committee
by Drew Stewart for WIS 10, April 23, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A House-Senate conference committee is debating a crackdown on illegal immigration.

And Wednesday a disagreement in policy led to the House members of the committee walking out of a meeting.

WIS News 10 was inside the State House when it happened.

The way the meeting ended pretty much sums up how immigration reform has gone in the General Assembly this session.

Members of the House left a conference committee in disgust after reaching an impasse with senators over wording in the bill.

Senate Bill 392 would mandate all employers in the state of South Carolina -- public and private -- to verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the united states.

Tuesday, the full House had agreed to vote on the bill, once the conference committee passed it out.

But there's still one problem -- the conference committee members from the House and Senate are arguing over the process by which employers would verify employees' status.
Lawmakers say they will pass an immigration law
By Yvonne Wenger for the Post and Courier, April 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Legislators balked Thursday at the idea that immigration reform efforts in South Carolina are dead, arguing that resolve to overcome the deadlock is as strong as ever.

Negotiators for the House and Senate must find a way to revive a compromise plan that was dealt a blow this week. Both sides say they will pass a new law within the coming weeks that gets tough on illegal immigration.

Legislators' phones have been lighting up over the issue, and public scrutiny is high.

"The No. 1 issue that is on everybody's mind is illegal immigration," said Rep. Wallace Scarborough, R-James Island. "I believe this is something people truly want. They are truly expecting us in the General Assembly to handle this situation.

"I think if we don't do it, we're failing the people."
Lowcountry legislators vow to fight for immigration reform
By Yvonne Wenger for the Post and Courier, April 17, 2008

COLUMBIA — Charleston-area legislators pledged Thursday to not give up a fight on immigration reform despite a roadblock in conference negotiations.

The House and Senate are playing hardball in trying to sew up differences between their respective immigration bills.

The matter, both sides agree, is too important to the public to go home without a new law that carves out enforcement powers for the state. The sticking point is over worker verification standards for private employers.

Negotiations are expected to continue next week in the legislative conference committee.

Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, said he recognizes the differences and the need to sort them out. More importantly, though, he said, is leaving with a plan that ensures South Carolina does not become a safe haven for illegal immigrants. At the same time, he wants to make sure the Legislature's plan treats all people in a humane fashion.
County says immigration-business audits going smoothly
By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIRO for the Island Packet, April 13, 2008

Enforcement of a Beaufort County ordinance designed to discourage the hiring of illegal immigrants is going smoothly, according to a private firm hired to audit area businesses.

Hilton Head Island-based Advance Point Global has conducted between 20 and 30 audits so far, said company president Andrew Patrick. Patrick and his employees are looking at federally required immigration documents called I-9s and gross receipts as part of the audit program, still in its infancy.

County administrator Gary Kubic said the county wants to audit 473 of the roughly 4,300 businesses licensed to operate in unincorporated parts of the county in the program's first year. Kubic has said the county's long-term goal is to audit 25 percent of such businesses.

For now, Patrick said he hopes to get through the first 98 businesses -- to be selected randomly for audit by the county -- by the end of April.
Sanford: Immigration bill falls short
The State, April 8, 2008

Gov. Mark Sanford said again today the illegal immigration bills being negotiated between the S.C. House and Senate do not go far enough.

Sanford said, in a statement released by his office, the bills should mandate employers invest in an e-verify system that will allow them to check the immigration status of employers.

"While I'd give the House and Senate - and in particular Senator Ritchie - credit for moving toward the idea of some form of worker verification, we believe that the bills are missing a critical piece without the e-verify system," Sanford said.

"In talking to folks around South Carolina, what I keep hearing is that unless businesses verify the citizenship of their workers, we don't have true immigration reform. We believe if we had a law that contained the e-verify requirement, rather than the I-9 option, it would have a greater impact on illegal immigration in our state than the rest of this bill combined. I'd respectfully ask that the conferees revisit this idea."
SC Legislators Tentatively Agree on Immigration Reform
AP, April 2, 2008

A group of House and Senate members have tentatively agreed to a compromise on their separate illegal immigration proposals.

The six conference committee members expect to vote next week on a measure that would require both public and private employers to check the legal status of their employees.

Businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants could be charged with a felony and face up to five years in prison under the agreement.

The compromise would also allow local governments to pass their own laws as long as they don't violate federal law or conflict with the state law.

The committee members said Wednesday they will explain the compromise to their colleagues before voting.
Immigrant domestic-abuse reports increase
McClatchy Newspapers, 3/30/08

With the help of a $300,000 U.S. Justice Department grant, advocates have spent the past two years trying to heighten awareness of domestic violence within Hispanic communities and encourage immigrants to report crimes.

They seem to have made progress: Police reports of domestic violence among Hispanic women increased about 9 percent in the past year, from 526 reports in 2006 to 575 in 2007.

But advocates say they still hear of many incidents that never get reported.
Local News Sanford asks voters to call legislators on immigration, DUI bills
AP, 3/18/08

COLUMBIA – Gov. Mark Sanford wants South Carolinians to call legislators and urge them to quickly pass bills that would clamp down on illegal immigration and toughen drunken driving laws.

The Republican governor says legislators need to get the phone calls from constituents to bring reform. The House and Senate have both passed bills on illegal immigration and drunken driving, but neither has been sent to the governor.

A conference committee has met twice to hash out the differences on the immigration proposals.

Sanford says the law will be meaningless unless all private businesses are required to check their employees' legal status through a federal verification program.

A conference committee has not yet met on the DUI bill.
Feds' Program Targets Illegally Employed Immigrants - Database Screens Employee's Information
WYFF4, 3/19/08

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A federal program aimed at making sure U.S. employers have a legal workforce is drawing interest from hundreds of South Carolina companies.

The Department of Homeland Security says its e-Verify program is not intended to be a method for catching illegal immigrants, but it is a way to ensure that they will not get jobs.

The program allows employers to use a federal database to make sure that potential employees have immigration status that makes it legal for them to work.
Local News Sanford asks voters to call legislators on immigration, DUI bills
AP, 3/18/08

COLUMBIA – Gov. Mark Sanford wants South Carolinians to call legislators and urge them to quickly pass bills that would clamp down on illegal immigration and toughen drunken driving laws.

The Republican governor says legislators need to get the phone calls from constituents to bring reform. The House and Senate have both passed bills on illegal immigration and drunken driving, but neither has been sent to the governor.

A conference committee has met twice to hash out the differences on the immigration proposals.

Sanford says the law will be meaningless unless all private businesses are required to check their employees' legal status through a federal verification program.

A conference committee has not yet met on the DUI bill.
Sanford urges passage of immigration, DUI reform
The Times and Democrat, 3/18/08

COLUMBIA -- Governor Mark Sanford on Tuesday joined with Spartanburg Solicitor Trey Gowdy and Beaufort Sheriff P.J. Tanner to call for the passage of both DUI Reform and Immigration Reform -- two parts of Governor Sanford's "First 30 Days" agenda he called for in this year's State of the State address.

Both DUI Reform and Immigration Reform have passed the Senate and House and are awaiting action in conference committees, where the two chambers will work out their differences on the bills.

"Both of these bills have been in the works for quite some time, and our message to all the conferees is simple * send meaningful bills to my desk sooner rather than later," Gov. Sanford said. "Continuing to delay action on these bills is frankly handcuffing law enforcement in this state -- both in the way our weak drunk driving laws make our highways more dangerous, and in the way illegal immigration has diverted frontline law enforcement resources. If we're serious about changing this, we need a DUI law with real teeth, and an immigration law with effective private employee verification."
Illegal immigration groups rally
The State, 3/10/08

Almost 100 people are rallying against illegal immigration today at the north step of the State House in Columbia.

Illegal immigration is a hot issue in South Carolina, and state lawmakers are trying to pass legislation to curb that growing population. An estimated 75,000 illegal immigrants live in the state.
Governor asks Legislature to quickly send him an immigration bill
AP, 3/6/08

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - Gov. Mark Sanford is asking state lawmakers to quickly send him a bill that clamps down on illegal immigration in South Carolina.

A conference committee of six House and Senate members began meeting earlier this week to hash out differences in their chambers' separate immigration bills. A meeting set for Thursday was rescheduled for next week.

The Republican governor praises legislators for their work on an issue that both parties have called a priority this election year, but he says neither version is strong enough in requiring businesses to verify their employees' legal status.
Legislators eye immigration reform
AP, 3/4/08

COLUMBIA, S.C. --Legislators hope to have a compromise next week on a proposal to clamp down on illegal immigration in South Carolina.

A conference committee of six House and Senate members began meeting Tuesday to hash out differences in their separate immigration bills.

Both versions require public employers to check if their employees are illegal immigrants. The Senate proposal extends the requirement to private businesses. Some say that provision includes a large loophole in what employers can use to verify legal status.

Both versions also ban illegal immigrants from attending public colleges and create a felony for harboring or transporting illegals.

Legislators in both chambers and parties have made illegal immigration a top priority this year, when all seats are up for election.
S.C. targets illegals - Legislation could have big effect on workplace, health care, police
By Noah Haglund for the Post and Courier, 2/16/08

Lawmakers are laying out a giant unwelcome mat for illegal immigrants with a bill that strives to be among the toughest in the nation. Yet for all its proposals, the law's chilly sentiment might be its strongest weapon.

Half of the law's amendments restate existing law. For example, it would ban undocumented immigrants from owning guns, already a federal regulation.

The other proposals might become so burdensome to apply and enforce that the law essentially would be futile. Would citizens seeking Medicaid — a benefit already barred to illegal immigrants — be required to complete affidavits witnessed by notary publics?

Constituents who demanded a tough approach complain the bill is toothless. State legislators say their hands are tied by federal law regulating immigration. Still, they want to send the federal government a strong message by doing what they can as a state.

If South Carolina's bill becomes law, the state will join more than 40 states that have passed laws against undocumented immigrants. Reports from other states with these laws, such as Arizona and Colorado, suggest illegal immigrants are leaving for other states or returning to their native countries.
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