Looming Arizona-style immigration law splits Grand Strand opinions

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The controversial Arizona-style immigration bill, steps away from becoming law in the Palmetto State, is splitting opinions along the Grand Strand.

Some say the bill will open the door to racial profiling, while others say it's needed to save the state money and secure jobs for legal citizens.

Wednesday, a final vote on the bill was delayed in the Senate while legislators work on small changes that would update the part of the bill that would impact the 2008 anti-immigration bill currently on the books.

If passed by the Senate before end of session Thursday, the bill would go to Governor Haley's desk and await her signature that's already been pledged.

Ana Garcia sells insurance to a majority Hispanic clientele in Socastee and she says people in the community are strongly opposed to the immigration bill. She says it will lead to blatant discrimination.

"They're gonna pull me over. I don't know I probably miss a stop sign or something they'll pull me over and ask me for my legal status. I think that it's really racist," said Garcia.

Under the bill officers would be required to check the immigration status of a suspect pulled over for a traffic violation or arrested for something else entirely.

But that provision is what many Hispanics and the American Civil Liberties Union don't buy will be applied equally.

"They can stop other Americans and I don't think they're really going to ask a white folk are you legal or what is your status," Garcia said.

People holding a valid South Carolina driver's license, military ID or passport would be exempt from the status check.

Lawmakers supporting the immigration law say it's about stepping up to protect the borders when the federal government has failed to do so.

"It's about protecting [the state] against the financial impact of illegal immigrants, protecting its jobs and providing jobs to its citizens," said Rep. Alan Clemmons, (R)- Horry County.

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