Class-Action Lawsuit Filed in the Wake of Crisis in Alabama as a Result of Similar State Immigration Law
October 12, 2011
CHARLESTON, S.C. ― South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and a coalition of civil rights groups today filed a lawsuit against South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law, charging it is unconstitutional, invites racial profiling and interferes with federal law.
Today’s complaint was filed two weeks after a similar anti-immigrant law went into effect in Alabama, where families have been afraid to leave their homes and individuals have been stopped and questioned about their immigration status.
The lawsuit charges that the law, SB 20, subjects South Carolinians – including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents – to unlawful search and seizure and interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters. The law requires police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person lacks immigration status and criminalizes South Carolinians for everyday interactions with undocumented individuals, such as driving someone to church or renting a room to a friend.
South Carolina’s law, which is slated to take effect Jan. 1, was inspired by Arizona’s notorious SB 1070. Federal courts have blocked implementation of key provisions of Arizona’s law, as well as similar laws in Indiana and Georgia. A federal judge in Alabama recently allowed key provisions of its anti-immigrant law to take effect, leading to devastating humanitarian and economic consequences throughout the state. The coalition also has a pending case against Utah’s anti-immigrant law.
The coalition in the South Carolina case includes the ACLU, the ACLU of South Carolina, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firms of Rosen, Rosen & Hagood and the Lloyd Law Firm.
Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “This lawsuit is the latest in our ongoing fight against these unconstitutional laws. In recent days, we have seen the destructive results of a similar law in Alabama, and the people of South Carolina should not face the same fate. This draconian law must be blocked, as it tramples our American values, interferes with federal laws and risks turning South Carolina into a police state.” (more…)
Filed under: Alabama, Arizona-copycat laws, immigrant community, S.B. 20, South Carolina | Tagged: ACLU, Andre Segura, Foster Maer, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, lawsuit, Lloyd Law Firm, Mary Bauer, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Immigration Law Center, Nora Preciado, Rosen, Rosen & Hagood, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, Victor Viramontes, Victoria Middleton | Leave a Comment »