Federal judge puts SC immigration lawsuit on hold

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - A federal judge in South Carolina has halted a lawsuit over the state's tough new immigration law pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on a similar challenge in Arizona.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issued the order Monday.

The federal government sued South Carolina challenging the constitutionality of the new law that went into effect Jan. 1.

Some portions of the law took effect, like a requirement that businesses check new hires' legal status through a federal system. But Gergel blocked key provisions, including a requirement that officers check the immigration status of people they pull over if officers suspect they are in the country illegally.

A judge has blocked a similar portion of Arizona's law. The state's appeal is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.