Justice Department sues S.C. over immigration law (Update: Temporary block)

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Update December 25: The Post and Courier reports that three key provisions of South Carolina's new immigration law have been blocked, putting a hold on enforcement of some of the law's most controversial portions until legal challenges can be heard in court.

The Post and Courier has solid reporting on the case as well as a link to the official immigration ruling; you'll find both here.

So far, not a good week for questionable laws in South Carolina.

Update December 21: Judge Gergel is aiming to rule on the case before the end of 2011 — the law is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2012.

Update December 19: A quick update that the case is to be heard in  U.S. District Court today, December 19, in Charleston in Judge Richard Gergel's courtroom at 10 a.m.

There is also slated to be a rally by opponents at Washington Square Park — across the street — at 9 a.m.

First reporting: The United States Justice Department filed a complaint seeking to block parts of South Carolina's new Arizona-esque immigration law that the state passed this past summer. 

The law, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1st of 2012 follows in spirit of similar laws passed both in Arizona and Alabama. 

Via CNN,

The law would "undermine federal law and invade federal authority by imposing punitive sanctions for conduct that falls outside of the state's police powers and that Congress affirmatively decided should not be subject to such sanctions. And it will interfere with and undermine the federal government's control over relations with foreign governments," officials argue, referring to the state trying to require the carrying of documents to prove residency.

Via Business Week

“South Carolina’s law clearly conflicts with the policies and priorities adopted by the federal government and therefore cannot stand,” the Justice Department said today as it announced the U.S. District Court filing.

Via HuffintonPost

"It is understandable that communities remain frustrated with the broken immigration system, but a patchwork of state laws is not the solution and will only create problems," said Attorney General Eric Holder in a press statement.

The originator of this immigration crackdown, Arizona has been in court with the Federal Government for sometime and has been blocked and remains on appeal. Similarly, the Alabama law is also been to court and only parts of their version has been blocked and is in Federal appeals court. 

Moreover, the immigration law has had some serious effects on Alabama; from families leaving due to relatives being undocumented to threats against a Deli owner to crops dying on the vine because there are no workers who are willing to do the back-breaking labor for the minimal pay. 

Read more on the law suit over at CNN and over at Business Week.

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