In just a few week's, South Carolina's Illegal Immigration and Reform Act goes into effect, requiring that all state businesses hire legally documented workers. The law requires businesses with state contracts and at least 500 employees to begin using the system on Jan. 1 with all businesses conforming by July 1, 2010.

Governor Mark Sanford signed the bill in June, and it has gained a reputation of being one of the toughest state laws on the books.

"If you had a chance to examine it, I think you would agree it has tremendous consequences for those who fail to comply," Jim Knight from the state's Department of Labor told the Beaufort Gazette.

Businesses with state contracts will be required to use the Department of Homeland Security's internet-based system, E-Verify. Private businesses will not be required to use the system.

For a first violation, a business will lose its license for 10-30 days. For the second violation, the penalty is 30-60 days, and a third violation could result in the license being revoked.

To prepare South Carolina businesses for the new law, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation have been traveling the state to educate them on the new regulations.

More on this story came be found at the Beaufort Gazette.

Information on the new law can be found at the LLR's website.

Updated: Thu, May 14th 2009 @ 10:29am EDT