Justice Department Challenges South Carolina Immigration Law
By Samuel Knight | October 31, 2011 6:21 pm

The Justice Department filed suit Monday challenging South Carolina’s immigration law, which DOJ officials say infringes on civil rights and usurps the federal government’s authority.

Assistant Attorney General Tony West, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, told reporters during a conference call that the federal government also plans to file a motion asking a judge to issue an injunction against the law.

“The United States understands the State of South Carolina’s legitimate concerns about illegal immigration,” the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston, states. “But the United States Constitution forbids South Carolina from supplanting the federal government’s immigration regime with its own State-specific immigration policy.”

Justice Department lawyers, who listed the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security as plaintiffs in the case, claim that the law  “will impose significant and counterproductive burdens” on federal immigration enforcement agencies, and divert federal resources from the current efforts focused on “dangerous aliens”.

Justice Department lawyers also claim that the law will cause documented immigrants and Americans citizens without documentation to face “detention and harassment” because of the “rigid approach of universal, undifferentiated enforcement.”

The lawsuit is the third of its kind; earlier Justice Department lawyers filed suit against similar laws enacted in Arizona and Alabama.

West added that the Justice Department has been in talks with Attorneys General from Utah, Georgia and Indiana about similar immigration laws in those states, and said that the lawsuit filed against South Carolina “makes clear once again that the Justice Department will not hesitate to challenge a state’s immigration law.”


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