S.C. Faith Leaders and Civil Rights Groups Urge Governor Nikki Haley to Reject Costly, Unconstitutional Arizona Copycat Bill
Columbia, S.C.—A coalition of 21 local faith leaders and civil rights organizations, including South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Church World Service, and the South Carolina NAACP, are calling on Governor Haley to veto S.B. 20, which will cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and encourage law enforcement to engage in ineffective and counterproductive racial profiling. Law enforcement officials have publicly voiced concern for their inability to effectively implement the provisions of the bill.
“Should S.B. 20 become law, it would drive entire communities into the shadows of society and threaten the integrity of families throughout South Carolina,” said Reverend Joseph Darby, pastor at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston. “This does not love our neighbors as ourselves, but robs them of the dignity, safety, and stability we all seek for ourselves, our families, and our communities.”
S.B. 20 is modeled after Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070, which has been the subject of costly ongoing litigation by both civil rights organizations and the U.S. Department of Justice, resulting so far in rulings by a federal judge and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that prevent key parts of it from being implemented. Like the Arizona law, S.B. 20 would criminalize any adult—both foreign and U.S.-born—who fails to carry state-issued identification or immigrant registration documents. The bill would also authorize law enforcement to investigate the immigration status of any person involved in a routine traffic stop. “This bill essentially legalizes racial profiling; anyone who looks different or is perceived as ‘foreign’ will be targeted by law enforcement,” said Ivan Segura, of the Council for Mexicans in the Carolinas.
“We have already seen the courts block Arizona’s law. Moving forward with a law that is unconstitutional will only cost our state—which has already had to make deep cuts to essential services—more money that we don’t have,” said Tammy Besherse, staff attorney for the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
“It’s hard to believe that the legislature passed a bill that in other states would have cost more than $80 million,” said Amanda Jackson, Field Director of Church World Services. S.B. 20 will affect more than just undocumented immigrants; it will be a strain on law-abiding citizens, law enforcement, and the South Carolina economy. The South Carolina Immigration Coalition urges Governor Haley to veto S.B. 20.
The South Carolina Immigration Coalition consists of:
- American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina
- Carolina Peace Resource Center
- Christian Action Council
- Church World Service
- Emily Scales Sutton, West Metro Hispanic Ministry of the United
- Methodist Church
- Father Filemon Juya, the Hispanic Catholic Ministry
- Father Sandy McDonald, St. John Neumann Catholic Church
- GYCLA Latinos
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- Low-country Immigration Coalition
- Mexican American Coalition
- Reading is Power International
- Rev. Brenda Kneece of Belmont Baptist Church
- South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
- South Carolina Hispanic/Latino Health Coalition (SCHLHC)
- South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council
- The South Carolina NAACP
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
- Council of Circular Congregational Church, United Church of Christ of Charleston, SC
Filed under: Arizona-copycat laws, Law, S.B. 20 Tagged: | Amanda Jackson, Church World Services, Joseph Darby, Morris Brown AME Church, Nikki Haley, South Carolina, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, South Carolina Immigration Coalition, Tammy Besherse, veto