Nikki Haley’s Arizona-Style Immigration Crackdown

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South Carolina is poised to become the latest state to enact an anti-immigration bill modeled on the drastic law in Arizona that ignited a national debate. The Wall Street Journal reports that on Tuesday, the South Carolina legislature passed a bill that “requires police in South Carolina to check suspects’ immigration status” if they are stopped for a traffic offense or arrested otherwise, mirroring one of the most controversial provisions in the Arizona law. Governor Nikki Haley’s spokesman confirmed to the Journal that she will sign the bill.

Before Arizona passed its law last year, South Carolina was considered to have some of the country’s strictest laws against illegal immigrants. The states’s new law will also require that all businesses check the immigration status of new hires through a federal online database called E-Verify.

Though Haley is the daughter of Sikh immigrants, she has maintained a hardline immigration stance, in line with her other hard-right views. “My parents are immigrants, they came here legally, they put in the time, they put in the money, they did what they were supposed to. It makes them mad when they see illegal immigrants come into this state,” Haley declared in a 2010 campaign video. Having praised Arizona’s immigration law, Haley was long expected to support a similar effort in her own state.

With Haley’s backing, South Carolina will soon join a handful of states that have passed sweeping anti-immigration laws since Arizona, including Alabama, Georgia, and Indiana. Though a federal court prevented Arizona from enacting some of the most controversial parts of its law, states have continued to follow Arizona’s lead, despite the legal challenges they’re likely to face. Stay tuned for my in-depth account of these new immigration battles later this week.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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