[JURIST] A South Carolina Senate [official website] committee is contemplating state immigration reform laws [JURIST news archive] that would regulate the hiring practices of businesses who contract with the state, state Sen. Jim Ritchie [official profile] said Tuesday. The committee is considering a mandatory program for state agencies, their contractors, and subcontractors where the citizenship of all employees would be checked through a federal database program. Other proposals include expanding a voluntary federal program in South Carolina that allows businesses to check the immigration status of workers; checking the immigration status of prisoners for possible deportation; and urging local law enforcement agencies to participate in a Homeland Security Department program to receive illegal immigration detection and response training.
At the federal level, Congress passed [JURIST report] the Secure Borders Act [PDF text; HR 6061 summary] last month, though the legislation, which authorizes the construction of a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexico border to curb illegal immigration, has yet to be signed by President Bush. Congress initially attempted to pass a more comprehensive immigration reform bill, but legislators were unable to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills and US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said in September that negotiations would be postponed [JURIST report] while Congress worked on border security and worksite enforcement measures. AP has more.