Federal Judge Blocks Key Provisions of South Carolina Immigration Law

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U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel temporarily enjoined three provisions of South Carolina Act 69 and found a fourth provision likely to be overturned in future proceedings. The ruling makes South Carolina the sixth state—after Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, Utah, and Alabama—to see major parts of a punitive immigration law blocked in federal court.

South Carolina's immigration law, enacted in June, was challenged in court by both the federal government and a coalition of civil rights groups. Today, in a 42-page opinion, Judge Gergel entered temporary injunctions against three provisions, finding each to be preempted by federal immigration law.

Judge Gergel temporarily blocked the provisions that would have made it a state crime to transport or harbor undocumented immigrants, fail to carry an immigration registration document issued by the federal government, possess a fraudulent identification to establish lawful presence in the United States, and a provision that would have required police to try to determine the immigration status of any person under investigation or arrest whom the officer has “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country illegally.