SC may get immigrant law like Arizona

Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:41 PM
Last updated 6:10 PM
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COLUMBIA- Hispanic opponents of a bill meant to further clamp down on illegal workers in South Carolina lashed out at its sponsor today in what became a rare shouting match in Senate offices.

Legislators are considering how to crack down harder on illegal workers, just two years after passing what many called one of the country's toughest anti-illegal immigration laws.

The bill discussed by a Senate subcommittee would put South Carolina in line with Arizona's controversial new law, by directing South Carolina law enforcement to try to check the legal status of people they suspect are in the country illegally. It specifies that suspicion can't be based on race, color or national origin.

The bill has almost no chance of passing this year, with just two weeks set in the session. But that didn't stop emotions from escalating.

Two Hispanic women confronted Sen. Larry Grooms after the meeting, asking him if he could tell which one was in the country illegally. He responded by doubting either was, sparking a back-and-forth argument before a TV camera.

The women argued that profiling is inhumane and that the bill is the wrong way to address illegal immigration.

"My job is to protect the citizens of this state ... not to provide economic liberties for people in other countries," Grooms, R-Bonneau, shouted back. He argued that people who employ illegal immigrants cheaply are cheating the system and putting citizens out of work.

The debate got more heated after Roan Garcia-Quintana, a Cuban American who advocates anti-illegal immigration bills, said the women should go back where they came from if they don't like it here.

Neither of the women is an illegal immigrant. One of the protesters, Ilia Rivera, of Greenville, shouted she's Puerto Rican and an Army veteran. Then she stalked off.

"Someone will stop me. I'm very sure they're going to," Rivera said about the bill. "I'm Puerto Rican and look like I'm Latino."

Ines Alvarez, also of Greenville, called the bill racist. A U.S. citizen originally from Panama, she is running as a Democrat to represent Greenville in the House, saying the Legislature needs an advocate for Hispanics. She said the push to rid the state of illegal workers will further hurt the economy.

"Nobody wants to go to the fields and pick up tomatoes or whatever," she said.

Later, Garcia-Quintana said he felt compelled to defend Grooms.

"I resent when they jump right in to the race card," he said, adding that illegal workers also "come in all shades of pale."

During the meeting, Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell grilled Reggie Lloyd, Director of the State Law Enforcement Division, on why the agency hasn't negotiated an agreement with federal agencies to take on more immigration enforcement duties.

Legislators passed a law in 2008 directing SLED to enter an agreement with federal agencies - known as a 287(g) agreement - which trains officers in immigration enforcement and enables them to identify and detain illegal immigrants.

Lloyd noted the agency's state funding has been cut nearly 40 percent in two years.

Illegal immigrants are arrested daily for serious crimes, he said. Arresting them for working at a chicken plant, he said, would divert the agency's scarce resources and hurt attempts to gain trust in the Latino community to fight violent crime and gangs.

Comments (17) Add comment
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lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 05/20/10 - 01:57 pm
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go south carolina go!!!!!!!!!

go south carolina go!!!!!!!!! it's time all of the illegal aliens go back to their countries...if they want a better life then they need to fight for it to come about in their own countries......enuff said

Labatt
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Labatt 05/20/10 - 02:00 pm
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Great for SC. I have no

Great for SC. I have no problem with immigrants. Just pay your way like the rest of us (well..some of us).

Chillen
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Chillen 05/20/10 - 02:12 pm
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If enough states do it, the

If enough states do it, the feds will have no choice but to begin the crackdown and enforce our law.

They've got to have some teeth behind the law though. It's not enough to make it a crime to hire illegals. There needs to be hefty fines for first offence and jail time for second offense.

Fine & jail landlords. Fine & jail any govt worker or education worker who allows illegals to use ANY taxpayer funded service - food stamps, healthcare, schools, driver licenses, car tags, etc. This will make things impossible for them to live here and they'll mostly leave on their own.

If SC succeeds, GA & NC will be infiltrated with even more illegals. Looks like they'll be a need for more states to join the cause. Georgia politicians, are you watching & listening?

Nightwing
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Nightwing 05/20/10 - 02:18 pm
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I can see this going on

I can see this going on across this nation until the Federal Government decides to enforce its own laws.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/20/10 - 02:31 pm
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ChillenThursday, May 20 2:12

ChillenThursday, May 20 2:12 PM If enough states do it, the feds will have no choice but to begin the crackdown and enforce our law.
-----------------------
Yeah right........you keep believing that myth.

Surely secession can't be far off.

Chillen
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Chillen 05/20/10 - 02:52 pm
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baronvonreich. One can only

baronvonreich. One can only hope for the best! If not, you might have a plan.

c.james
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c.james 05/20/10 - 03:25 pm
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IIt's about time that someone

IIt's about time that someone in the CSRA recognizes the fact that this area is a hotbed of activity for illegal aliens. Just look around the neighborhoods, backstreets and a blind man could realize that these mom & pop convenience stores are doing more then selling milk and cookies. Some are international banks doing money exchange and providing other services that the DMV and SSA would offer, if you get my drift. But no one seems to care and the Police, according to Obama, would be profiling if they raided these stores. ICE won’t touch them and the numbers keep growing right under our noses. it's about time that someone in the CSRA recognizes the fact that this area is a hotbed of activity for illegal aliens.

jb1234
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jb1234 05/20/10 - 03:28 pm
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Go SC! The real problem with

Go SC! The real problem with the illegal immigrants is that they have no desire to become a citizen or the remain in the US. They come here illegally, get a job, save all the money they make, send it back to family in Mexico, then after they've saved enough or sent enough money, they go back to Mexico. I'd have no problem with them if they were going to eventually become citizens or were going to remain in the states, but coming here to take advantage of our higher wages while giving nothing in return is what bugs me...

Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/20/10 - 04:13 pm
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jb1234--is absolutely

jb1234--is absolutely correct. Illegals are a tremendous drain on our economy in so many different ways--sending our currency back to Mexico, taking food off of American families' tables, and making us print signs in two differnt languages. But seriously, the onus should be applied equally to both culprits, the illegals themselves, and the people that hire illegals, illegally.

polyman
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polyman 05/20/10 - 04:23 pm
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Come to this country the

Come to this country the right way, through proper channels and with documents. Then you will be welcome. Don't come here and absorb resources ILLEGALLY.

dwb619
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dwb619 05/20/10 - 04:46 pm
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I WISH! How about jailing

I WISH! How about jailing the illegals employers. Lou Dobbs said it long ago, "Cut off the jobs and they will SELF-DEPORT". I am not talking about migrants, who follow the harvest. I am talking about roofers, landscapers, nail-drivers,so-called masons,dry-wallers,painters. Most of them get a 1099 form, no federal,state, or FICA with-holdings. But the state of South Carolina conducts small business seminars in Columbia,advocating the 1099.

justthefactsjack
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justthefactsjack 05/20/10 - 05:10 pm
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I think that the people that

I think that the people that have been here 10 years or more, have an ITIN (this means they're paying their taxes), and have acted responsibly during these years should get a shot at some type of amnesty. I can see where some of the citizens of this state would be worried that their jobs are being taken. I would also suggest that for every illegal taken from a company, a SC welfare recipient be put in their place to work for the same wages and benefits they were receiving. If the welfare receipient refused the job their government benefits would be immediately be cutoff. This way you're saving money two ways. There is as much racial profiling among our government officials and law enforcement personnel as there is among the general public in this state. If your skin is tan, or you have a hispanic last name, you must be an illegal right? The only real difference I can see, is that before they wore hoods and sheets, now they'll be wearing badges.

SCY385
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SCY385 05/20/10 - 05:38 pm
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If the federal government

If the federal government would enforce its own laws the states would not have to pass some of these laws. I also think that if the law is going to go after illegal immigrants why not go after all of them. There are people here illegally from all over the World. Don't just target Latinos. What about illegals from Korea, China, Africa, Canada, and the Middle East? What does an illegal immigrant look like when you think about it? I totally believe that we need to secure our borders, but you have to be fair about it too. Illegal immigrants aren't just Latinos. If you check there are plenty of them from all over.

Nightwing
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Nightwing 05/20/10 - 07:25 pm
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President Obama has put a

President Obama has put a muzzle on the Immigration Law and is too busy gratiating himself to the Mexican Presidente.

Runner46
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Runner46 05/21/10 - 08:16 am
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There is no excuse for

There is no excuse for remaining in our country illegally. Over stay your Visa? Fix it in court. Crossed the border illegally? Fix it in court. Illegal and getting deported? Fix it in court. Try to scam the system by remaining here illegally? Too bad. Bye, bye! Get legal or get out!

Runner46
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Runner46 05/21/10 - 08:22 am
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If SC gets their immigration

If SC gets their immigration enforcement law in place, Georgia had better do the same. Otherwise, we will be inundated with illegal workers exiting SC for greener pastures.

Runner46
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Runner46 05/21/10 - 08:34 am
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I would like to know why it's

I would like to know why it's always the Latinos who are up in arms over anything to do with immigration enforcement. Why only this one ethnic group (who we keep referring to as a race)? They seem to think that they are all above reproach. Could it be that this ethnic group is trying to hide something? The newspapers are covered with "racial profiling" accusations toward Hispanics/Latinos. Well, it seems that these folks are a bit too sensitive to be honest about what is happening around them these days. It's not about race; it's about being legally in our country. Don't try to make it what it is not. Only U.S. citizens have the right to claim racial profiling IF it occurs.

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