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SB 156 Gets Down to Business on Illegal Immigrant Labor

Senate Bill 156 was originally a big mess of state overreach on illegal immigration, threatening to bust anyone who gave illegal immigrants a ride or let them into the house. But now the bill is getting dow to business... literally. Yesterday Senate Judiciary amended the bill down significantly to focus on employers. Under the new language, which passed committee on a 4&ndash3 vote, the only focus subject to prosecution are persons, employers, or business entities that hire, employ, or continue to employ illegal aliens. First offense is a maximum noncriminal $1000 slap on the wrist; subsequent offenses draw a Class 2 misdemeanor—30 days in jail and/or $500 fine—for each illegal alien on the job.

Now I'm all for tackling illegal immigration on the demand side. Turning the screws on the red-blooded, all-American Chamber of Commerce types who exploit cheap illegal immigrant labor will dry up illegal immigration faster than any wall, Minuteman militia, or police-state racial profiling.

However, the question remains: is it within any state's authority to venture into federal jurisdiction on immigration?


  1. Nick Nemec 2011.02.18

    This is beyond the jurisdiction of a state or local government. Deciding who can be in this country is a federal responsibility. Expect the Chamber of Commerce types to challenge this if it is ever enforced.

  2. Karl Kroger 2011.02.22

    I wish the people of SD who cared about this bill were organized in such a manner to speak loudly about this issue. During the first committee discussion, the only organized voices came from the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen and the ACLU. We need a network of people.

  3. Karl Kroger 2011.02.22

    and the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center

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