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Immigration hearing becomes heated argument

May 20, 2010 1:18:00 PM - thestate.com

An S.C. senate subcommittee hearing on illegal immigration turned into a heated argument Thursday that resulted in security officers having to disperse an angry crowd.

The scene took place after a subcommittee discussed a bill proposed by Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, and 18 other senators that would allow local and state police to stop and detain people who they suspect are illegal immigrants. Two Hispanic woman challenged Grooms on the bill, saying it would encourage racial profiling from law enforcement.

Much of the meeting focused on a state immigration law that was passed in 2008 that mostly targets businesses and their hiring practices. The intent is to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Senators wanted to know if provisions in that law already allowed police to stop suspected illegal immigrants.