Republicans in the South Carolina state Senate lashed back after the U.S. Justice Department sued to stop South Carolina’s new immigration law from taking effect.
The Senate GOP caucus issued a statement Wednesday accusing the federal government of failing to act on illegal immigration.
That statement came after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit Monday arguing South Carolina’s new immigration law is unconstitutional, partly because it gives local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration law– which only the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency can do.
“I wish that the federal government was as vigilant in protecting the country’s borders and enforcing our nation’s immigration laws as they are in attacking states like South Carolina that try to step up to the plate and act because the federal government refuses to do so,” President pro tempore Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) said.
Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler echoed those statements. “The federal government’s inaction on this issue has forced states across the nation to react to the growing problem of illegal immigration, Peeler said, “However, when the states pass laws that address this problem, the federal government rushes in to stop them.”
The Justice Department says the law also violates due process rights because it gives police the power to check a person’s immigration status during a traffic stop. ”A state may not establish its own immigration policy or enforce state laws in a manner that interfere with federal immigration law,” the agency’s Civil Division director Tony West said Monday.