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And the challenges to state immigration laws continue

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2011 | Deportation and Removal |

It is not exactly a new twist, but 16 Latin American nations have asked to join a federal lawsuit that seeks to block the state immigration law in South Carolina. Why isn’t it a new twist? Mexico asked to join a lawsuit seeking to challenge the Arizona immigration law last June. This time the number of nations is much larger.

The Latin American nations say the South Carolina law is likely to lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against the citizens of each of the countries. Florida has not passed a measure, although lawmakers considered a number of proposals during the last session. As time passes, the federal immigration litigation bringing challenges to the piecemeal immigration processes in individual states continues to bubble up through the federal courts.

At issue in South Carolina is that part of that state measure would require local police to investigate the immigration status during traffic stops. This blog has reported numerous stories on the controversial Secure Communities program that has led to many of the record removal and deportation proceedings in the past year or so. The Latin American countries that seek to join the Justice Department lawsuit seeking to block yet another state law say the measure will lead to racial profiling.

Among the Latin American nations seeking to join the most recent federal and state battle again is Mexico. Honduras, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and nearly a dozen other countries have filed papers to join the Justice Department lawsuit.

Like many of the federal government’s lawsuit seeking to block the South Carolina law, the current suit argues that immigration policy is solely a federal matter, and that authority preempts the states from enacting their own immigration laws. In light of the lawsuit challenging the Arizona law last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón said the measure was discriminatory. The South Carolina law has similar language to the Arizona law.

Last year, Mexico issued a travel warning to its citizens about the Arizona law. The nation warned its citizens about the measure if any citizen planned to visit, work or study in that state.

Many states have debated and passed varying versions of state immigration laws. Some, like the South Carolina law, direct local law enforcement to inquire into individual’s immigration status. Others, like measures debated last year in Tallahassee have components aimed toward employment, including mandatory use of the federal E-Verify system.

Generally, Florida businesses can voluntarily choose to use E-Verify to supplement their employment verification and I-9 compliance requirements. The Florida Governor previously signed an executive order mandating state agencies and contractors to participate in the E-Verify system.

Source: Fox News Latino, “South Carolina Immigration Law Challenged by 16 Nations,” Nov. 9, 2011