Obama Administration Challenges South Carolina Immigration Law

Posted October 31st, 2011 at 8:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The Obama administration has asked a court to block parts of South Carolina's new immigration law, saying those provisions are unconstitutional and interfere with federal immigration authority.

The U.S. Justice Department made the announcement Monday as it filed suit challenging the legislation. In a statement, Justice officials said South Carolina's law conflicts with the policies and priorities adopted by the federal government and therefore cannot stand. Officials said the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley – the daughter of immigrants who came to the United States lawfully from India – signed the legislation in June. It is set to take effect January 1. The measure requires that police check the immigration status of people they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally after stopping them for another offense.

The Justice Department says the law would unduly burden federal agencies.

Judges have already blocked parts of similar laws in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and Indiana and temporarily restrained enforcement of Utah's law.