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House Approves Immigration Bill for Seventh Time

May 30, 2008

House Approves Immigration Bill for Seventh Time

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina House of Representatives has once again approved a House bill that will be among the toughest illegal immigration laws in the country.

“The seventh time is the charm, I guess,” said Majority Leader Jim Merrill.  “We have done what the people of South Carolina have asked us to do.  We approved a bill that should decrease the flow of illegal immigrants coming to our state – by restricting jobs with companies that take advantage of cheap labor from workers with little standing.”

The bill approved Thursday was the result of tough negotiations between the House and Senate leadership to close loopholes and string together the strongest parts of the House and Senate plans.  Ninety-four members of the House voted to approve the legislation.

The bill:
*       REQUIRES every South Carolina company to use the federal e-verify system or a S.C. drivers license to check employees

*       CREATES TOUGH PENALTIES for companies that hire illegal aliens
*       CREATES A CAUSE OF ACTION for replacing a legal worker with an illegal
*       PROHIBITS companies that hire illegal workers from receiving public contracts
*       PROHIBITS illegal immigrants from attending state universities or receiving state-funded college scholarships.
*       OUTLAWS “sanctuary cities”

Opponents tried to kill the bill using procedural moves throughout in the day, but the Republican leadership out-maneuvered them.

“This bill does more than any other plan in the country to address the hundreds of millions of dollars illegal immigration is costing states each year,” House Speaker Bobby Harrell said.  “I would like to thank all the pro-immigration reform members of the House who have worked so hard over the last few years and have now successfully sent the strongest illegal immigration reform bill in the nation to the Governor’s desk.”

The bill is expected to be signed by the governor.

“I’m glad the debate is over for this year,” said Rep. Jim Harrison, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  “The House Republicans have worked hard on this legislation for two years now.  I tell my constituents, and all of the people in South Carolina, that we will closely monitor the implementation of this bill and if anyone exploits any unintended loopholes, we will work to close them.”


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