DOJ Files Suit Against South Carolina Immigration Law, Says Others Could Come Soon

October 31, 2011 1:10 p.m.

The Justice Department filed suit on Monday to block South Carolina’s immigration law, saying that the law interfered with the federal government’s supremacy on the issue of immigration.

South Carolina’s statute, enacted on June 27, criminalizes the presence of an illegal immigrant in the state. DOJ’s complaint says that the Constitution and federal law “do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.” South Carolina’s law, DOJ officials claimed, “clearly conflicts with the policies and priorities adopted by the federal government and therefore cannot stand.”

“Pushing undocumented immigrants out of one state to another is simply not a solution to our immigration problems,” DOJ Assistant Attorney General Tony West said in a press call on Monday. “We believe South Carolina’s law… crosses the constitutional line.”

West mentioned that DOJ has had discussions with the Attorney Generals of Utah, Georgia and Indiana about their immigration laws.

“The United States will decide whether and when the bring lawsuits challenging particular state laws,” West said.“Today’s lawsuit makes clear once again that the Justice Department will not hesitate to challenge a state’s immigration law, as we have in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina, if we find that the law interferes with the federal government’s enforcement of immigration,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“It is understandable that communities remain frustrated with the broken immigration system, but a patchwork of state laws is not the solution and will only create problems,” Holder said. “We will continue to monitor the impact these laws might have on our communities and will evaluate each law to determine whether it conflicts with the federal government’s enforcement responsibilities.”

US v SC Complaint Final

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