U.S. Opposes South Carolina Bid to Halt Immigration Lawsuit

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. opposed a South Carolina bid for a court order halting a federal government lawsuit seeking to invalidate some of the state’s new immigration laws.

Governor Nikki Haley’s administration yesterday asked U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel in Charleston to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to review a similar Arizona measure blocked this year by a federal appeals court before he takes up the South Carolina case. Gergel has scheduled a Dec. 19 hearing over whether to bar implementation of the South Carolina laws.

South Carolina’s statutes should be allowed to take effect as scheduled on Jan. 1, the state’s lawyers said yesterday.

The U.S. responded today that allowing the measures to be enforced would irreparably harm the federal government’s control of immigration policy and “create the substantial likelihood that lawfully present aliens will be harassed with mandatory demands for verification of their immigration status.”

Lawyers for the state of Alabama, which is also defending against a federal legal challenge to its immigration laws, has asked a U.S. appeals court in Atlanta to halt that case pending the Supreme Court’s review of the Arizona matter.

The South Carolina case is United States v. State of South Carolina, 11-cv-2958, U.S. District Court for South Carolina (Charleston). The Alabama appellate case is United States v. State of Alabama, 11-14532, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Atlanta). The Supreme Court case is Arizona v. United States, 11-182.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net