South Carolina lawmakers have proposed changes to the state’s immigration laws that would require businesses to check their employees’ legal status on the federal E-Verify program, according to published reports.
The changes – which must be approved by the Senate and the House – would allow the state to revoke the business licenses and filings of establishments that do not check their workers’ immigration status. Under the current law, businesses are fined if they neglect immigration checks.
The proposal comes on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a section of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The court upheld the state’s right to require businesses to use the E-Verify program and suspend the licenses of those that do not comply.
J.J. Gentry, a staff attorney for the South Carolina Judiciary Committee, told the newspaper The State that lawmakers weren’t sure the fine system was appropriate following the Supreme Court ruling.
“I’m not 100 percent sure our law is unconstitutional,” Gentry said. “It’s in a gray area.”
E-Verify is an internet based system that allows employers to determine the work eligibility of their employees, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. United States law requires companies to only hire people who are legally eligible to work in the country.