SC lawmakers advance anti-illegal immigration bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina legislators have advanced a bill requiring officers to check the legal status of someone they suspect is in the country illegally.

A House Judiciary panel voted 3-2 Thursday to advance the bill to the full committee. It also added penalties of up to $50,000 for businesses that repeatedly violate the state's anti-illegal immigration laws.

The bill requires the check following a traffic stop or arrest. Unlike a law passed in Arizona last year, South Carolina's would not hold someone based on suspicion. The bill says the officer must call Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and if there's no response, process the suspect normally.

It also creates a new police unit to enforce the state's immigration laws.

Opponents say the bill is too costly and will encourage racial profiling.

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