South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a new immigration reform bill that will allow law enforcement authorities to check the immigration status of individuals they detain who they suspect may be illegal aliens, according to multiple reports.
The tough immigration legislation will go into law on January 1. Among the law’s heavy stipulations is a provision requiring employers in the state to check their workers’ citizenship status through the federal E-Verify system. Employers who do knowingly employ illegal immigrants risk having their business license revoked by the state.
In addition, the law creates an Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit within the state public safety department to work with local and federal immigration officials. The unit will reportedly require $1.3 million in funding and employ 12 full-time officers.
Politico reports the American Civil Liberties Union plans to challenge the bill in court, as it has with other strict immigration reform laws in other states. A Georgia judge recently blocked a provision of the state’s immigration law – also challenged by the ACLU – that would have authorized police to check the immigration status of suspects who did not have proper identification.