U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel made his decision today about South Carolina’s immigration checks. He has decided to OK the part of their immigration law that allows police to check people’s lawful status.
His previous ruling in December was addressed this week in a lawsuit. After the Supreme Court ruled to uphold Arizona’s strict immigration law two months ago, Judge Gergel decided that he would need to change his decision. In December 2011, he prevented the “show me your papers” aspect of the South Carolina law from taking effect.
In his ruling today, Gergel has made it clear that there are other parts of the law that will continue to not take effect. These include policies that make it a state crime for a person to not carry their immigration paperwork, like a U.S. green card for example. Gergel continues to say that only U.S. federal government has the authority to criminally pursue people who are not citizens.
Many are happy about Gergel’s decision to allow immigration checks. Attorney General Alan Wilson released a statement saying, “Giving law enforcement this ability will make our state a better, safer place for all South Carolinians.”
Last year, the U.S. federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the South Carolina law, saying it was unconstitutional. ACLU attorney Andre Segura said that he was happy the judge at least kept some of his previous blocks in place. He said his organization will continue to monitor the law’s implementation.