This week, a new illegal immigration bill became law–placing more power in the hands of local law enforcement. Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill Monday, allowing police to check a person’s immigration status if that officer has reasonable suspicion that that person may be here illegally.
Pickens Senator Larry Martin explains what the bill does.
We gave local law enforcement the opportunity or requirement, if you will, to enforce a state statute where they can counter someone who is here illegally, they contact federal ICE (Immigrations Custom Enforcement), they can actually make a charge for someone being here illegally.
Under the new law, the check could only happen if the person the officer stopped or arrested the individual for another reason.
Opponents to the bill are worried it will lead to racial profiling, and will also hurt businesses–especially the agricultural industry. Martin says despite this criticism–
We can’t do anything to make those people legal. There’s nothing we can do. The most law-abiding of the bunch that has the most terrific story in terms of why they need to be here, if they’re here illegally, there’s nothing that this state or any state can do to make them legal. There going to be here illegally in violation of our law, not just state law, but federal law.
Martin says passing the bill was a responsible move. The governor said she wants to be clear that the bill is NOT an anti-immigration law.