Feb 14 2008
Although not as stringent as I would have liked, the Senate did pass an immigration reform bill with merit. Here is a press release from the SC Senate Republican Caucus: Senate Restores Strength to Illegal Immigration Reform Act Urges House to Concur with Stronger BillColumbia, SC – Senator Jim Ritchie, (R-13) Majority Whip, took the Senate floor today reassuring the people of South Carolina that strength and effectiveness are at the heart of the Senate’s Illegal Immigration Reform Act.“This breakthrough legislation requires public and private employers to verify new workers to address this growing crisis,” says Ritchie.
The Senate “rejects the House’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, restored stronger penalties, and will require that all businesses verify the legal immigration status of new hires,” says Senator Ritchie. “We have been working on true illegal immigration reform for over a year and today’s action builds effective, comprehensive reforms with real strength.”
The Senate bill requires public and private employee verification, prevents illegal aliens from receiving public benefits, expands penalties for identity theft and fraud, and allows state law enforcementto enact a memorandum of understanding with the federal officials which provides them the authority to enforce federal immigration and customs laws. The Senate also maintained provisions allowing civil lawsuits tobe filed against employers who fire South Carolinians for the purpose of hiring illegal aliens.
“Illegal immigration is one of the top concerns across the state and the Senate Republican Caucus has produced a solid bill that answers the call from the people of South Carolina that something be done,” says Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee). “What the Senate has done today creates a much stronger bill than we have seen to this point,” says Senate President Pro Tempore, Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston). “The Senate has taken the lead on this issuefor over a year and we continued to strengthen the bill with the actions taken today.”
“Our citizens have rightly demanded legislation that will effectively deter illegal aliens from coming to South Carolina,” says SenatorRitchie. “The Senate has answered the call of the people with this landmark reform.”
The Illegal Immigration Reform Act now returns to the House where they must “concur” or “nonconcur” with the amendments. Should the House “concur,” the bill will be ratified and sent to the Governor. Should the House “nonconcur,” the bill will go to conference committee where three Senators and three House members will work toward a final resolution.