Media Contact

Shaundra Scott, Executive Director,, (843)720-1423

April 20, 2018
April 20, 2018
CONTACT: Shaundra Scott, Executive Director, (843)720-1423
CHARLESTON, SC - We are deeply disappointed that Governor McMaster has chosen to play politics with the state budget. What he calls “sanctuary cities” are actually just jurisdictions that limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement in order to focus their resources on local criminal law enforcement priorities. In fact, collaboration with ICE undermines police-community relationships – already seriously strained in our state. When police are believed to be working with ICE, witnesses and victims are less likely to report crimes, for fear that they or their loved ones could be detained or deported. And pro-immigrant jurisdictions actually have lower rates of crime than jurisdictions that actively assist federal immigration agents. 
Contrary to some media reports, local law enforcement agencies that limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement are not breaking federal law. They are simply focusing limited resources where they’re most needed. But Governor McMaster seems to prefer to donate South Carolinians’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars to supplement ICE’s $7 billion budget instead. 
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018 the House gave the second reading of the sanctuary cities bill, which is backed by Governor McMaster.  The House passed the bill with some changes regarding which entity will determine local compliance.  This bill is unnecessary as we currently have federal immigration laws that inform ICE of every individual booked into jail; indeed, this administration has vastly expand the number of individuals deported despite long-standing ties to our state and no public safety threat.  We hope immigration reform will happen in the near future to recognize the enormous contributions of undocumented individuals and keep them from being subjected to unjust treatment, racial profiling, and the practice of separating families without regard for children's and the community's best interests.  Republican Gary Clary stated that “the debate on sanctuary cities is a political stunt to try and pit one group and race against the other.”
With the governor's misguided proposal to financially penalize so-called “sanctuary cities,” he has signed up South Carolina for Trump’s anti-immigrant vision of America. We reject this vision and will continue to fight every day for the rights and freedoms of all South Carolinians, regardless of immigration status.