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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

SOUTH CAROLINA BECOMES LATEST STATE TO PASS IMMIGRATION LAW

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Here's my summary of the employer sanctions provisions in the new law. There are some other immigration provisions I have not summarized including a bar on unauthorized immigrants attending state colleges. Also, here's a link to the Word version of S. 392.  Download south_carolina.docx



SOUTH CAROLINA>>

>>

On May 29, 2008, the South Carolina Legislature passed the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act.



What obligation does the new law impose on government employers?>>



Beginning January 1, 2009, all public employers are required to register and participate in E-Verify.

   

What obligations does the new law impose on employers engaged in contracts with state agencies?>>



Contractors
and their sub-contractors seeking to do business with state agencies
must register for E-Verify or only employ workers with a valid South
Carolina Driver's license or an out-of-state driver's license if the
license requirements are as strict as South Carolina's. The provision
does not apply to contracts worth less than $15,000 for political
subdivisions and $25,000 for other public employers (and employers may
not divide work in order to avoid the applicability of the section.  It
also does not apply to contracts for the acquisition of an end product
and contracts predominantly for professional or consultant services.
Contractors must provide a written statement verifying compliance,
though the public employer need not audit or independently verify
compliance by the contractor.

   

Are there requirements applicable to all private employers?>>



All
employers with more than 100 employees (and their contractors and
subcontractors) must, by July 1, 2009, either use E-Verify or timely
and properly complete Form I-9 documents on each employee (which is
already required under current federal law). Employers may also be in
compliance with the new law if they employ only workers possessing a
valid South Carolina Drivers License or a license from a state with
requirements at least as strict as South Carolina. This provision of
the new law will apply to employers with less than 100 employees
beginning July 1, 2010.



There is now a
general requirement stating that a private employer shall not knowingly
or intentionally employ a person who is not lawfully present in the US.

   

When does the new law take effect?>>



Under
the provisions of the law relating to contractors with public
employers, subcontractors with five hundred or more employees must
comply by January 1, 2009. For those with 100 to 500 employees, they
new law takes effect July 2009. For everyone else, the law takes effect
on and after January 1, 2010.



>



Is there a safe harbor for employers in the new law?>>



Yes.
Employers complying with the E-Verify or driver's license requirement
may not be sanctioned under the contractor section of the new law.
Private employers subject to the general section applicable to all
private employers with 100 or more employees are also provided a safe
harbor if they are in compliance with I-9 rules.


Are there penalties for those filing false complaints?>> 



Those making false reports shall be guilty of a felony and imprisoned for up to five years.

   

What is the new requirement for reporting violations?>>



The
State's Commissioner for Minority Affairs is required to set up a 24
hour hotline to receive allegations of federal work authorization
program violations and the department shall, in turn, relay the
information to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

   

What does the new law change with respect to deducting wages paid to unauthorized employees?>>



The
new law bars after January 1, 2009, the deduction of wages paid to
persons not authorized to be working in the US except where after a
reasonable investigation, the employer did not know or should not have
known the worker was unauthorized.  The
provision only applies to individuals hired after January 1, 2009 and
does not apply to any individuals with a valid South Carolina driver's
license or license issued by a state with license requirements as
strict as South Carolina's. 

   

What is the new transporting bar contained in the new law?>>



It
is now a state law felony to transport, shelter, harbor or conceal
unauthorized individuals knowingly or in reckless disregard of the fact
that the person is illegally present in the US. Fines range from $3000
to $5000 and guilty parties may be subject to imprisonment for up to
five years. Also, persons convicted under the law are barred from
receiving a professional license in South Carolina.

   

What does the new law change with regard to identity theft?>>



Individuals who engage  in
identity theft for the purpose of working in the US must pay
restitution to the state for any benefits received as a result of
benefiting under any state programs and individuals suffering any harm
as a result of such identity theft may now bring a private cause of
action and claim triple damages and attorney fees.

   

Does the law give any rights to discharged US workers?>>



Yes.
Employees who are replaced by unauthorized workers when the employer
knows the replacement worker is unauthorized shall have a civil right
of action for wrongful termination. The replacement must have occurred
within 60 days of the termination, the replacement worker must not have
been authorized at the time of the replacement, the employer must have
known the replacement worker's status and the replacement worker must
perform the same duties and have the same responsibilities as the
terminated employee. Employees successful in such a suit can seek
reinstatement in the position, actual damages and attorney fees. The
claim must be made within a year of the date of the alleged violation.

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Comments

  1. Another voice's Avatar
    The silliness continues!!!!! but what can people expect is the SOUTH, they are just embracing their traditional values. If you have Jim De MInt as your Senator that says a lot about this state.
  2. Kim 's Avatar
    I understand and agree that reform should happen, but why in the world must the business owner be the gatekeeper? The small business owner is already overburdened with taxation and legislation that constantly monitor and regulate any and all aspects of running a business. Why can our legislature not wake up on this issue and realize that a finantial windfall could come SC way if only SC would be THE leader in our nations to put these folks on the tax roles. They are willing and eagar to be leaglized and legitimate! Wake up o sleeper!!! Now that this bit of idiocy has passed don't complain when the prices of EVERYTHING goes up EVEN MORE!!!


  3. Chuck's Avatar
    Finally, the American Working man/woman in South Carolina will not have to compete for a job with an illegal immigrant who will work for nothing.
    And to business owners who do not want to hire Americans, get the hell out of here! If you want Mexican workers who will work for nothing, then go to Mexico. We will be glad to see you go. And in Mexico you will find lots of people just as sleazy as you are.
  4. Ric's Avatar
    In reply to Kim (June 03,2008). Kim, you need to wake up. Its easy to oppose this law if you're not directly effected as I am. I am an electrician with 19 yrs experience. My boss won't give me a raise because he can just hire more illegals instead. Meanwhile, the minimum wage keeps rising, cost of living is going up, and the average wage for my industry is dropping. Why? because illegals ride 8 in a car made for 5, live 12 in 3 bedroom house, they dont pay taxes, and they get free medical because they just dont pay. Thats the kind of idiocy that exists in our state. People that dont bother to find out the facts before they speak. Shame on any of you that oppose this law! I am planning a party to celebrate the day the law goes into effect!
  5. South Carolina Email List's Avatar
    SOUTH CAROLINA will follow the laws at first...
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