Since Arizona passed SB 1070, an anti-illegal immigration law that allows local law enforcement officers to inquire about legal status after a crime has been committed, in April 2010, at least 30 other states have followed with similar legislation to address their own illegal immigration problems. This is no surprise considering illegal immigration costs states already drowning in debt millions, if not billions of dollars per year in the areas of education, healthcare and public services. Regardless, the Obama Justice Department has made every effort to stop states from dealing with illegal immigration on their own and has filed lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama and now South Carolina. Before the racist arguments start flying, keep in mind South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the daughter of Indian Immigrants.
The federal government filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to stop implementation of South Carolina's tough new immigration law, arguing that the legislation that requires law officers to check suspects' immigration status is unconstitutional.
Federal officials and state officials had met to discuss the issue a week ago.
The government wants a judge to stop enforcement of the legislation, which requires that officers call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally following a stop for something else, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles told The Associated Press.
"The Department of Justice has many important tasks," Nettles said. "Two of those important tasks are the defense of the constitution and ensuring equality is afforded to all."
The lawsuit filed in federal court names Gov. Nikki Haley as a defendant. A spokesman for the Republican, the daughter of immigrants from India, said the state was forced to pass its own law because there is no strong federal immigration law.
"If the feds were doing their job, we wouldn't have had to address illegal immigration reform at the state level," Rob Godfrey said. "But, until they do, we're going to keep fighting in South Carolina to be able to enforce our laws."
South Carolina's law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also mandates that all businesses check their new hires' legal status through a federal online system. Businesses that knowingly violate the law could have their operating licenses revoked.
The law says all law enforcement officers are required to call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The question must follow an arrest or traffic stop for something else. The measure bars officers from holding someone solely on that suspicion. Opponents railed against the measure as encouraging racial profiling.
The law also makes it a felony for someone to make fake photo IDs for illegal residents and creates a new law enforcement unit within the Department of Public Safety to enforce state immigration laws. It also makes it a felony for illegal immigrants to allow themselves to be transported.
The bottom line is, laws combating illegal immigration at the state level work. Take SB 1070 for example. Since the legislation was passed, even with the most crucial enforcement measures of the bill being put on hold by a federal judge, crime in Phoenix is at a 30-year low, down from being the number two (behind Mexico city) kidnapping capitol of the world just two years ago. Unnecessary education spending has also significantly dropped in the Grand Canyon State.
Did you know that crime in Phoenix has dropped to a 30-year low as per PLEA, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association? And, with a reported 100,000 illegals having moved out of Arizona, the estimated drop in K-12 education costs has been substantial. (The U.S. Department of Education places Arizona cost at $7,610 per pupil.)