However, Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms backs the states stricter laws.
“I am not afraid of the ACLU, but I’m afraid of what happens to this state and to this nation if we turn a blind eye to the problem of illegal immigration,” says Grooms.
South Carolina’s ACLU says the law would cause police to take their focus off of more serious crimes while looking for illegals. The suit claims that South Carolina’s law involves racial profiling, which would violate federal law.
Supporters of the law, like Grooms, say that the state is just trying to enforce stricter laws to combat the ongoing problem of illegal immigration–helping the federal government. Grooms explained what the law does:
“If you’re stopped for some sort of crime and the officer has probable cause that you’re in this country illegally, then he can check your status to make sure that you are here legally or not. Now, what is probable cause? That would be when the officer pulls over someone who does not speak English, doesn’t have a driver’s license, who has no idea what the guy is trying to tell him–that’s probable cause that that person is probably here illegally,” says Grooms.
The Justice Department has already filed to stop similar laws in Georgia and Alabama. However:
“The Alabama law has gone into effect and, believe it or not, illegal aliens are leaving Alabama and they want to make sure that doesn’t happen in South Carolina. So, go figure. I don’t know whose rights they are trying to protect. We have a problem in this nation. We pretend that we have an immigration policy, but we really don’t have one if it’s not enforced. It’s going to be up to the states to save this nation,” says Grooms.
The law would allow law enforcement to check the status of any driver they feel has probable cause to be an illegal immigrant.
South Carolina’s new law goes into effect January 1.