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South Carolina appeals order blocking portions of immigration law

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson [official website] has filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] asking the court to overturn the decision to block provisions of the state's new controversial immigration law [SB 20]. The state is asking the court to overturn the district court ruling blocking two provisions of the law and to allow the entirety of the law to take effect. The request comes after a judge for the US District Court for the District of South Carolina [official website] placed a hold on the lawsuit [JURIST report] over the immigration law pending the outcome of a similar case to be heard by the US Supreme Court [official website]. The Supreme Court agreed [JURIST report] in December to rule on Arizona's controversial immigration law granting certiorari [JURIST report] in Arizona v. United States [docket] to determine if Arizona's law is preempted by federal law. The South Carolina law was scheduled to take effect on January 1.

In December of last year, a federal judge blocked [JURIST report] portions of the South Carolina law. Judge Richard Gergel blocked the provision that requires police to check immigration status, finding, "[t]his state-mandated scrutiny is without consideration of federal enforcement priorities and unquestionably vastly expands the persons targeted for immigration enforcement action. He also blocked the provision that outlaws harboring or transporting an illegal immigrant, finding a likelihood of irreparable harm. Similar immigration laws are being challenged throughout the US. Also in December, Alabama and Georgia filed motions in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] seeking to stay proceedings [JURIST report] on challenges to their immigration laws pending the Supreme Court ruling in Arizona v. United States. A challenge is also pending to an immigration law in Utah, and an Indiana law has been blocked [JURIST reports] by a federal judge.

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