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REMINDER: South Carolina: SC Illegal Immigration Reform Act amendments go into effect January 1, 2012

    Client Alerts
  • December 30, 2011

Earlier this summer, SC Governor Haley signed a bill into law which amended several sections of the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act of 2008 (SCIIRA). The most important amendment mandates use of E-Verify by all South Carolina employers that are required to complete and maintain federal employment eligibility verification forms or documents. South Carolina employers have until January 1, 2012 to comply with the South Carolina law. Although the South Carolina law has been challenged in the courts and portions of the statute have been blocked, the mandate for South Carolina employers to use E-Verify has been left in place.

E-Verify is the federal government's electronic employment verification system which, absent state law to the contrary, is a voluntary federal system that supplements the paper I-9 employment verification system.  2011 has seen many states, including North Carolina and Alabama, pass state laws implementing some form of employment verification system using E-Verify.  Litigation seeking to overturn these laws has been prevalent, but without federal intervention, the patchwork of state involvement in immigration enforcement in this regard will likely continue. 

Failure to comply with the new South Carolina amendments may result in probation, suspension and revocation with respect to an employer's ability to hire workers in South Carolina. After a violation is determined, S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation will verify the work authorization status of the employees, notify the employer of the results and notify federal, state and local law enforcement officials of any suspected unauthorized aliens employed by the employer. Each failure to verify the immigration status of a new employee is considered a separate violation of the law.