Councilman discusses proposed ban on illegal immigrants in Summerville

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A Summerville town council member does not want any illegal immigrants working or living in his town.

Councilman Walter Bailey proposed an ordinance to get tough on illegals, putting fines and punishments in place for people who do not follow the rules.

The proposed Summerville ordinance bans the housing and the hiring of illegal immigrants. Violators would face fines.

"I think any town needs to do it. I don't think the federal government or the state is doing anything at all to control illegal immigration,"  Bailey said.

The ordinance is in line with federal law and prohibits the knowing employment of unauthorized aliens. State and local governments have the right to suspend business licenses.

"The town would enforce it through the police department and through the licensing office as a provision they have to deny a provision license to a businesses that knowingly violates the ordinance," Bailey said.

It also prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens. Bailey said the town would work with apartment complexes in town and all renters would have to fill out special applications at the Summerville Town Hall.

The ordinance would require people who want to rent or lease in Summerville to disclose whether they are an American citizen. If they are not an American citizen, they would have to show proof they are here legally.

Bailey said the number of illegal immigrants living in Summerville is unknown at this time, but he said they are a fiscal burden and they take jobs from citizens. Townspeople have mixed feelings on the ordinance.

"We have to have diplomacy," Kathy Sharp said. "I mean they have to have a place where they can go where, 'ok, I want to come over to your country and work, then show me what to do.' "

Businesses could lose their business licenses and illegal renters could face eviction. All violators can also face a $100 fine.

"There's other fish to fry," Dennis Ashley said. "Maybe some folks think that's important, but I think jobs and preserving the quality of this small town is pretty important too."

The Summerville town council will vote on the first reading of this ordinance at Wednesday's council meeting at 7 p.m.

If it passes both first and second reading, the ban on housing and hiring illegal immigrants could go into effect by next month.

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