(WCSC) - Governor Henry McMaster announced a new law enforcement initiative to ensure South Carolina municipalities don't become sanctuary cities Monday.
The initiative also aims to establish, in state law, a mechanism through which local officials must annually prove compliance with existing immigration law.
The proposed legislation would supplement existing law that requires reasonable efforts be made to determine whether a person in custody and charged with a criminal offense is an unlawful alien.
"Our cities are open to all who follow our laws, but are not sanctuaries for those who ignore them," McMaster said. "South Carolina is a special place, known for the kindness and welcoming nature of its people, but it's also a place that values law and order, and this bill will serve as a strong message to all that we will not tolerate lawlessness."
Additionally, the legislation would require political subdivision, defined as any local government entity eligible for funding from the Local Government Fund, to verify compliance with state immigration laws to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division before July 1 of each fiscal year.
If a political subdivision is found to not be in compliance, that subdivision will be ineligible for Local Government Fund appropriations for a minimum of three consecutive fiscal budget years, and will be subject to SLED oversight.