With the fastest-growing Latino population in the country, South Carolina is wrestling with a nascent immigrant population as well. In 2008, it passed a punitive immigration bill that mandates the use of E-Verify, denies higher education for immigrants, and restricts access to benefits.
2011 Session: January 11 – June 2, 2011
Senate: There is a Republican majority (D – 19; R – 27). There are no elections in 2010. Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell is a proponent of an Arizona-style bill.
SB 1446, Arizona copycat legislation, was introduced by State Senator Larry Grooms (R–Berkeley). It is expected to be reintroduced in the 2011 session.
On October 27, 2010, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, headed by Larry Martin (R–Pickens), held a panel with Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell (R–Charleston) and state senators Larry Martin (R–Pickens) and Chip Campsen (R–Charleston) on considering a bill that would allow state law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws. The majority of those who addressed the subcommittee spoke out against such a bill. At the hearing Martin said, "A lot of times, the Hispanic work crews can all be perfectly legal. They can have all their documents and be here legally. The fact that there are a number of them here - we know illegally - it casts a suspicion upon a lot of the ones who are here working legally or maybe were born here and just appear to be of Hispanic origin."
House of Representatives: Republicans maintained a majority (D – 48; R – 75).
HB 4919, the House version of SB 1446, was introduced in April and hearings were held about the bill in May 2010.
Governor: Governor Nikki Haley has said she would sign an Arizona-style bill into law, and while in the House of Representatives, Haley co-sponsored HB 4919.
South Carolina Update
South Carolina was the first state to introduce an Arizona copycat bill in the 2010 legislative session, but they ran out of time in the legislative session. However, South Carolina has passed punitive laws in the past, and they signed a legal brief in support of SB 1070. Already in the 2011 session, S 20 passed out of subcommittee in eary January, and a House version (H 3129) has already been introduced.