ACLU, NILC and Civil Rights Groups Will File Lawsuit Challenging Draconian South Carolina Anti-Immigrant Bill

June 21, 2011 12:00 am

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU of South Carolina and a coalition of civil rights groups announced they will file a lawsuit challenging the draconian racial profiling bill passed by the South Carolina legislature today if Gov. Nikki Haley signs it into law. The bill’s key provisions sanction discriminatory and unconstitutional practices by police officers and employers by inviting racial profiling of Latinos and others based on how they look or talk, interfering federal law. Under this extreme bill, police are required to demand “papers” from people they stop whom they suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S.

The following can be attributed to members of the coalition as stated below.

Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

“It’s appalling that the South Carolina legislature went into a special summer session to pass this discriminatory bill, particularly since federal courts have blocked its cousins in Arizona and Utah. These states are in a race to the bottom. Not only does this bill mimic Arizona’s notorious S.B. 1070, it goes even further by attempting to create South Carolina’s own immigration enforcement agency authorized to detain people based solely on how they look or talk. If the governor signs this bill, we are prepared to stand up for the civil liberties of all South Carolinians just as we have in every state that has passed similar copycat bills.”

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center

“Like Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Utah, South Carolina has now passed an unconstitutional law that betrays our American values. If Gov. Haley signs this law, she will join Governor Brewer and others on the wrong side of history. When considering this legislation, we hope the Governor puts the best interests of her state and the values of the U.S. Constitution above extremist politics of hate.”

Victoria Middleton, executive director, ACLU of South Carolina

“It’s disappointing that the South Carolina legislature made this discriminatory bill a top priority in a special summer session, particularly given the state’s serious budget shortfall. This legislation is a shameful throw-back to the pre-Civil Rights era and we call on Gov. Haley to veto this deeply misguided bill. The ACLU will stand up for the civil rights and liberties of all residents of South Carolina if she does not.”

Dan Werner, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project

“It is extremely disappointing to see the South Carolina state legislature following in these ill-fated footsteps by passing this legislation that will sacrifice citizens’ safety, cost the state an untold amount in taxpayer dollars and perpetuate bigotry. If Gov. Haley signs this legislation, SPLC will join our counterparts in fighting this unconstitutional and racist law to protect the civil rights of every South Carolinian.”

Tammy Besherse, staff attorney with the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center

“We have already seen the courts block Arizona’s law. Moving forward with a law that is unconstitutional will only cost our state—which has already had to make deep cuts to essential services—more money that we don’t have.”

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