Feds Sue South Carolina Over New Immigration Law

State's proposed law is one of the nation's toughest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2011 4:39 PM CDT
US Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.   (AP Photo/Andrew Burton)

(Newser) – The federal government is suing South Carolina to put a stop to the state's tough new immigration law. US Attorney Bill Nettles said today the government wants a judge to stop enforcement of the legislation. The law requires that officers call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally following a traffic stop for something else.

Nettles said the law is unconstitutional and violates people's right to due process. South Carolina's law takes effect Jan. 1 and is among the toughest in the nation, requiring police to determine immigration status during any unlawful stop where officers have "reasonable suspicion" of a suspect's immigration status. The US Justice Department is challenging similar laws in Arizona and Alabama. A spokesman for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said the state had not received a copy of the lawsuit.

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