Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner believes that everyone should be required to carry identification at all times.
His wish might come true: A federal judge decided Monday to reconsider his order blocking South Carolina’s immigration law, in particular a measure that would require those who weren’t born in the country to carry their residency paperwork.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel made his decision in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law. The high court struck down some parts of the law but upheld a requirement that law enforcement could ask for paperwork if they suspect someone they are investigating is in the country illegally.
However, the Supreme Court also ruled that the “show me your papers” rule could lead to civil rights violations. Eric Esquivel of the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition — a group that is a lead plaintiff in the federal government’s suit against South Carolina’s law — is worried the measure will lead to racial profiling.
“One of the big things we’re looking for insight on is if law enforcement is going to be required to go through training to enforce it,” Esquivel said. “And where are they going to get the money to do?”
Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister shares those concerns. He has questions about what counts as “reasonable suspicion” that someone is in the country illegally and believes that officers will need training to enforce the law — if it comes to South Carolina, that is. If the law goes through, McAllister said it will likely lead to a glut of lawsuits filed by those who felt they were pulled over as a result of racial profiling.
Tanner said he doesn’t believe racial profiling will result from the measure. Whether the “show me your papers” rule is upheld or not, Tanner also doesn’t believe it will change much for the Sheriff’s Office. It already has a task force of deputies trained as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents through a federal program.