Despite Lawsuit, Immigration Enforcement Set to Resume in S.C.

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Originally published in Midlands Biz November 1, 2011.

Regardless of what happens with a recently filed lawsuit, state regulators plan to begin enforcement of employment law provisions that take effect New Year’s Day.

On October 12, 2011, the ACLU and a coalition of labor unions and immigrants’ rights groups filed a lawsuit, Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, et al. v. Nikki Haley, et al., seeking to enjoin enforcement of parts of the state's 2011 immigration law, known as Senate Bill 20 (SB 20). Importantly for employers, the lawsuit does not directly challenge the law's employment provisions, including the requirement that almost all private employers use E-Verify.

So the Office of Immigrant Worker Compliance of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) is still set to enforce the employment provisions of the new law, which will go into effect January 1, 2012. LLR stopped enforcing the employment provisions of the state’s 2008 immigration law on May 31, 2011, four weeks before enactment of SB 20, due to questions about the validity of the prior employment provisions.

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