An immigration bill moved one step closer to becoming law in South Carolina even though large questions remain about whether some parts of the legislation would violate the U.S. Constitution or other federal laws.
A Senate judiciary subcommittee has been considering for nearly a year an Arizona-style immigration bill that would enable local police and sheriff’s departments to enforce federal immigration laws. On Thursday, the legislators on the committee had questions about the legality of some provisions.
Still, the subcommittee voted 3-1 to send the bill to the full judiciary committee when the legislative session begins Tuesday. The committee instructed its staff attorney to craft solutions to those potential legal problems, but those changes won’t be available for two or three days.
Until those changes are made, it will be hard to develop arguments against the bill, Tammy Besherse, an attorney with the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which opposes the bill.
“I’m just not sure how they’re going to answer some of those questions, so I want to reserve my comments until I see what they write,” Besherse said.
The bill that moved forward Thursday also included measures that tweak a 2008 S.C. immigration law, which mostly affected businesses’ hiring practices.
A discussion about the bill among four committee members on Thursday illustrated the fine line law enforcement may have to walk should the bill become law.
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