The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, charging that South Carolina's new immigration law is unconstitutional. The law requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of all people that they detain, including those that are stopped for traffic violations. The law is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2012. The ACLU and its allies are hoping to get a federal injunction to prevent it from taking effect.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson stood behind the law, saying, "We have a strong opinion this law is constitutional and we’re prepared to defend it to the U.S. Supreme Court if we have to.”
“Individuals perceived as ‘foreign’ by state or local law enforcement agents will be in constant jeopardy of harassment and unlawfully prolonged detention and arrest,” the lawsuit states. The suit also states that immigration is the federal government's responsibility, and that the 4th Amendment (which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures) is violated by the status-checks.
Victoria Middleton, executive director of the South Carolina American Civil Liberties Union, said, “It would put at risk the people who have a right to be here but can’t produce documents that would pass muster in this state."
Several other states have passed immigration legislation, and lawsuits have earned mixed results - with several notable victories for state initiatives. Analysts predict the Supreme Court will eventually have to weigh in.
Updated: Fri, Jul 21st 2017 @ 10:52am EDT