The Justice Department is asking a federal court to stop enforcement of parts of South Carolina's new immigration law, bringing to three the number of states the Obama administration is suing over immigration crackdowns.
The government earlier this year challenged Alabama's new law. And we're waiting to see if the Supreme Court takes up the challenge to the Arizona law.
The Justice Department action, filed Monday in federal court in Charleston, is directed at parts of the new South Carolina law that, for example:
-require police to determine immigration status during any lawful stop, detention, investigation, or arrest by the where there is "reasonable suspicion" that an individual is unlawfully present,
-allow state residents to sue any local government agency that moves to limit enforcement of state immigration laws,
-and create a new state crime of "allowing oneself to be transported" for the purpose of harboring someone here illegally or concealing a person's immigration status.
"By pursuing retribution and ignoring every other objective embodied in the federal immigration system (including the federal government's prioritization of the removal of criminal aliens)," the Justice Department said, the South Carolina law "conflicts with and otherwise stands as an obstacle to Congress's demand for sufficient flexibility in the enforcement of federal immigration law to accommodate the competing interests of immigration control, national security and public safety, humanitarian concerns, and foreign relations."