Department of Justice Files Lawsuit against South Carolina’s Anti-Immigrant Law

Categories: Immigration, News

The
Department of Justice filed a lawsuit
against South Carolina’s new immigration law
on Monday, arguing that “the law’s operation will
cause irreparable harm.”

The
suit states that certain provisions of the South Carolina law, known as SB20, are
“unconstitutional and interfere with the federal government’s authority to set
and enforce immigration policy.” DOJ also warns that SB20 will divert vital
federal resources from higher-priority targets and result in the harassment and
detention of foreign visitors, legal immigrants, and U.S. citizens.

Along
with constitutional concerns,  DOJ says South Carolina’s SB20 seeks to
criminalize unauthorized immigrants by allowing law enforcement officers to
arrest and detain people based on a “reasonable suspicion” of being
undocumented.

“Today’s
lawsuit makes clear once again that the Justice Department will not hesitate to
challenge a state’s
immigration law, as we have in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina
, if we find
that the law interferes with the federal government’s enforcement of
immigration,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.  “It is
understandable that communities remain frustrated with the broken immigration
system, but a patchwork of state laws is not the solution and will only create
problems.”

The
American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights organizations
filed a
similar lawsuit against South Carolina in early October
.

“This
law must be blocked, as it tramples our American values, interferes with
federal laws and risks turning South Carolina into a police state,” said Andre
Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.