Gov. Henry McMaster’s immigration plan got the first OK from a South Carolina House panel on Thursday.
H.4496 would require cities and counties prove to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) that they are not sanctuary cities, a term used to describe those American towns which do not check or report the immigration background of individuals arrested in their custody.
“When they make an arrest, when they have someone in custody and charged with a criminal offense, they must make reasonable efforts to determine whether that person is an unlawful alien,” McMaster said in a Thursday morning press conference at his office not long after the House General Laws Subcommittee advanced his plan.
“In South Carolina we are determined to live by the rule of law,” he said.
The bill passed by a 3-2 vote, and now goes before the full committee. However, Democrats and even some members of McMaster’s own Republican Party said they thought the law unnecessary since no South Carolina towns are “sanctuary cities.”
State Rep. Joe McEachern, D-Columbia, voted against the bill. “The bill’s language is so vague it would cast a net over innocent South Carolina citizens. If passed, it will have dire, unintended consequences,” heSC Democratic Pary release after the vote.
McMaster said he does not want South Carolina to become a refuge for illegal aliens. “We want everyone around the country to know that in South Carolina the law is enforced. And that we will not have sanctuary cities in South Carolina.”