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Senate Approves Strong, Enforceable Immigration Bill

May 28, 2008
Senate Approves Strong, Enforceable Immigration Bill
Private employers are required to use E-Verify or South Carolina
driver’s license.
Toughest, most comprehensive immigration reform bill in nation.
Columbia, SC - The Senate, by unanimous vote, gave key approval today
to the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act (H.4400). The bill
requires private employers to verify employment eligibility of all new
hires through the federal E-Verify system or by a South Carolina
driver’s license. Private employers are for the first time in
statute prohibited from “knowingly and intentionally” hiring illegal
The bill also creates a no-fee, no application necessary, implied South
Carolina employment license, permitting all private employers to hire
new employees.  The license will stay in effect as long as the business
abides by the hiring requirements established in the South Carolina
Illegal Immigration Reform Act. The employment license could be
suspended or revoked if an employer is found to have hired undocumented
workers. This would prevent businesses from legally hiring anyone for
the duration of the suspension or revocation. 
“This is going to be the toughest bill in the United States,” says
Senator Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston).  “This bill has enforcement
in it. This is a comprehensive bill that deals with public benefits, ID
fraud and host of other issues. When you take the entire matrix of this
bill and put it out there and start engaging in conduct that violates
this law you are in for some rough sledding. But, the bill also has in
it the necessary safeguards so that business are not caught in a
“We have adopted an E-verify bill that includes licensure revocation
and penalties, civil fines and potential criminal penalties that are
very straight forward and the toughest in the nation,” says Senator
Jim Ritchie (R-Spartanburg). The objective of the whole bill is to make
sure that those people who are breaking the law are not at a competitive
advantage over those who are playing by the rules. The value of these
new enforceable penalties is that all employers will now be playing
under the same rules.”
“We are now going to be able to reassert the rule of law that has
been abdicated by the federal government,” says Senator Chip Campsen
(R-Charleston). “It is their responsibility, but they have abdicated
enforcing federal law and we are reasserting that rule of law at the
state level to the greatest extent that we can.”
In addition to the strict employment eligibility verification and the
new employment license, the bill addresses other major challenges in the
fight against illegal immigration. 
The bill:
* Creates an information website and telephone hotline for the
reporting of suspected immigration law violations.
* Authorizes SLED to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with federal
agencies to allow state law enforcement officers to become auxiliary
immigration and customs enforcement agents.
* Mandates lawful presence verification of any person seeking public
assistance benefits.
* Prevents a business from claiming as a deductible business expense
any wages paid to an undocumented worker.
* Requires a seven percent withholding of all compensation paid to an
undocumented worker.
* Creates a state felony for harboring or transporting illegal aliens.
* Establishes increased penalties for ID theft connected to illegal
* Mandates operators of any jail to verify lawful presence of anyone
with a pending felony or DUI.
* Allows for a cause of action by those terminated in favor of hiring
an undocumented worker.
* Prohibits anyone not lawfully in the United States from buying,
selling, possessing, transporting, etc. all firearms.
* Adds a list of factors a court must consider when determining bail,
including immigration status. 
* Prevents illegal immigrants from attending public institutions of
higher learning.
* Prohibits sanctuary and local preemptive ordinances.
“South Carolina is sending a message to illegal immigrants that this
is not going to be a sanctuary state and we are not going to stand idly
by for a silent invasion,” says Senator McConnell. “We have
exercised state law as far as we can without being in conflict with the
federal law.”
Senators Jim Ritchie and Chip Campsen have championed illegal
immigration reform for almost three-years and today’s approval of the
South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act is a result of the
building blocks they put into place and the consensus built in the
Senate by Senator McConnell in the final days.  
The bill will receive a required third reading tomorrow before being
sent to the House. 
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