Bloomberg News

Mexico Asks to Be Heard in South Carolina Immigration Cases

November 09, 2011

(Updates with Mexico’s argument in fourth paragraph.)

Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico wants to add its voice to lawsuits challenging a South Carolina immigration law brought by the Obama administration and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The state legislation, set to take effect Jan. 1, criminalizes an immigrant’s failure to carry a certificate of registration and requires law enforcement agents with reasonable suspicion to determine whether a person is lawfully in the U.S.

The Justice Department sued last month, arguing the act is unconstitutional, and asked U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel in Charleston, South Carolina, on Nov. 7 for an order blocking enforcement of some provisions. The ACLU filed a separate complaint.

South Carolina’s law “substantially and inappropriately burdens the consistent and highly productive country to country relations between Mexico and the United States of America,” Mexico said yesterday in a request to file a brief supporting the U.S. and the ACLU.

The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua and 10 other Central and South American nations have told the court they wish to join in Mexico’s brief.

Gergel gave the parties to the litigation until Nov. 16 to respond.

“The governor’s job is to protect the citizens of South Carolina,” Rob Godfrey, a spokesman for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, said today in an e-mailed statement. “That’s what she’s doing, and she isn’t going to stop no matter who decides to sue her, whether it be the unions, the ACLU, DOJ or anyone else.”

Haley, a Republican in her first term in office, signed the immigration measure into law in June.

“This state can no longer afford those who don’t come here the right way and we are now going to do something about it,” said in a June 27 statement.

The cases are Lowcountry Immigration Coalition v. Haley, 11-cv-2779, and U.S. v. State of South Carolina, 11-cv-2958, U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina (Charleston).

--Editor: Charles Carter, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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