Welcome to the post-SB 1070 world. The latest stop, South Carolina, where a judge’s ruling Thursday will mean that the most contentious “papers please” provision of the state’s anti-immigration SB 1070 copycat law will move forward for implementation.
The provision and the law, modeled on Arizona’s SB 1070, mandates that state law enforcement officers inquire about a person’s immigration status if they suspect a person is undocumented. In U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel’s ruling, he nodded toward the Supreme Court’s ruling on sB 1070 earlier this year which allowed for future legal challenges to the law after it goes into effect. Judge Gergel, also in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling, blocked provisions making it a state crime for people not to carry their papers and provisions which criminalized undocumented immigrants’ daily life.
Much of the law had been blocked in December while the federal court awaited the ruling from the Supreme Court. Already in effect from South Carolina’s law are the state’s now mandatory statewide employment check requirements.
“Unfortunately, the court failed to recognize that the provision forcing police to demand ‘papers’ of those they suspect are in the country without authorization will cause real harm to South Carolinians of all colors,” Karen Tumlin, the managing attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement. “Our fight against this pernicious provision will continue.”
But, said Southern Poverty Law Center Legal Director Mary Bauer, the “ruling sends a message that South Carolinians will not be criminalized for being good neighbors and that targeting people based solely on their race will not be tolerated.”