In this morning's New York Times, former Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas revealed himself to be an undocumented immigrant. It is a amazing read. Mr. Vargas reveals in painstaking detail the obstacles he has needed to avoid and deceptions he used in order to stay in this country. The struggle of waiting for a solution like the Dream Act has finally worn him down:
I’m done running. I’m exhausted. I don’t want that life anymore.
Mr. Vargas' revelation comes one day after South Carolina's very own "Papers, please" law cleared its last hurdle on the way to the governor's mansion. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, whose Sikh parents immigrated legally to South Carolina, sits poised to follow in the ignominious steps of Arizona's SB 1070 law, complete with similarly draconian anti-immigration measures. Yesterday, it passed the state house, 69-43. This means all Governor Haley has to do is sign it (which she said she will), and it's law.
What does it propose? For one, expanding on the state's already-tough 2008 immigration measure, mandating that every business in the state use the federal database E-Verify to confirm the immigration status of new hires. Also:
It requires officers to call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The question must follow an arrest or traffic stop for something else. The measure bars officers from holding someone solely on that suspicion.
While it's good to know that South Carolina is drawing the line at jailing based on pre-judgment, the bill's easy passage shows us that the Great Republican Overreach™ of 2011 is undaunted in the face of legal challenge. Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones:
With Haley's backing, South Carolina will soon join a handful of states that have passed sweeping anti-immigration laws since Arizona, including Alabama, Georgia, and Indiana. Though a federal court prevented Arizona from enacting some of the most controversial parts of its law, states have continued to follow Arizona's lead, despite the legal challenges they're likely to face.
A similar statute in Georgia has taxi drivers complaining in court that they'll be required to check passengers' immigration status or risk breaking the law.