Sounds like Lowcountry law enforcement is A-Okay with Judge Gergel’s decision to block unconstitutional portions of South Carolina’s “feel-good” anti-immigration law, according to The Island Packet of Hilton Head:
Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister had some questions about what constituted “reasonable suspicion” and couldn’t get an answer.
“What is the determining factor?” McAllister said. “Is it if they can’t produce a driver’s license? If they look Hispanic or different? Is it if they don’t speak English? How can you tell?”
That’s one of the reasons he didn’t intend to change how his department treats illegal immigrants without training to keep his officers from “flying blind.”
The S.C. Criminal Justice Academy did not create a training program for state officers and deputies, although the issue might have been addressed in January, said academy general counsel Brandy Duncan.
McAllister said he applauded efforts to tackle illegal immigration, but he doubted the state’s law would be effective.
“With this law, my officer is going to call a 1-800 number, and federal immigration officials are going to thank us for our time if they even do that,” McAllister said.
Sheriff P.J. Tanner of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office also said that he doubted the new law would have changed standard procedure for deputies.
The Sheriff’s Office, through an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security, is one of only four law enforcement agencies in the state to enforce immigration laws within their jurisdictions through a federal program.
It is the only one with a task force made up of seven deputies who also act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and can conduct investigations and make arrests, according to ICE spokesman Vincent Picard.
“We have full authority to enforce federal immigration law, and we’re going to continue to do so under our contract with the Department of Homeland Security,” Tanner said.
In addition, every person booked at the Beaufort County Detention Center is checked against federal immigration and criminal databases, Tanner said.
So far, so good. Keep police fighting crimes, not basic human rights.
Filed under: Arizona-copycat laws, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, South Carolina | Tagged: Beaufort, Bluffton, Brandy Duncan, David McCallister, Judge Gergel, P.J. Tanner, S.B. 20 | Leave a Comment »