ACLU sues on S.C. immigration law

By MACKENZIE WEINGER | 10/12/11 3:47 PM EDT

The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against South Carolina’s tough immigration law on Wednesday, challenging the measure’s constitutionality and saying it invites racial profiling.

South Carolina’s law, which goes into effect January 1, requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they suspect the person might be in the country illegally, and makes it a crime for anyone to transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.

The lawsuit comes just two weeks after Alabama’s controversial immigration measure went into effect after the judge upheld the measure. The Department of Justice is appealing the ruling, and filed an emergency request to halt enforcement last Friday.

In the complaint filing over the South Carolina law, the coalition argues that the new provisions mean state residents engaging in everyday activities could face criminal charges.

“South Carolinians who give a lift to a neighbor, a client, or fellow congregant, who invite a family member to visit from out of state or rent out a room to a friend, or who married a person without considering his or her immigration status, are subject to prosecution, fines, and incarceration,