A top-ranking U.S. State Department official says South Carolina's tough new immigration law has not only damaged the country's reputation but could also endanger U.S. citizens abroad.
Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns says in court documents that the law interferes with federal authorities' jurisdiction over immigration and could subject U.S. citizens to retaliation when they travel.
Burns' statement is part of a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against Gov. Nikki Haley over the law, which takes effect Jan. 1. Federal prosecutors want to block the law while their lawsuit challenging its constitutionality moves forward.
The measure requires police to call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. Justice Department officials are challenging similar laws in other states.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.