The federal government may sue the state of South Carolina, among other states, for its tough anti-illegal immigration laws. The Washington Post reports the Obama Administration could potentially sue to stop a state law that was passed earlier this year.
Among other things, that law gives law enforcement the power to check the immigration status of a person they suspect could be in the country illegally. Such a check could only come after the officer stops the person for another reason.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says the administration’s actions are very disheartening.
“We went to such great lengths last year to try to tweak and reform our immigration laws to give law enforcement officers on our streets and highways the tools they need to enforce common sense laws. We’re not trying to rewrite immigration policy at the federal level, we are merely trying to give our law enforcement officers the tools they need to enforce the laws that are already on the books, and that’s all this is about,” says Wilson.
Wilson says he thinks the federal government is failing to do its job.
“So the states are stepping in and passing common sense reforms that are basically helpful to the federal government. If someone comes to my office and says, ‘We want to give you more prosecutors and more investigators to help the AG’s office out,’ personally I’m going to say, ‘thank you’–not, ‘I’m going to sue you for potentially getting me help’,” says Wilson.
Wilson says the state is NOT going against federal law, yet:
“This law recognizes the federal government’s authority on immigration matters. All we are doing is saying is if a cop is out, catches someone for speeding, or for hitting a pedestrian or robbing a bank, you’re allowed to ask a few extra questions through that lawfully obtained attention,” says Wilson.
The Justice Department has not filed a lawsuit yet.