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State Picks Top Immigration Cop

Retired state trooper selected to head South Carolina's new Immigration Enforcement Unit

South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith on Wednesday picked retired S.C. Highway Patrol Major E.C. Johnson to command the department's new Immigration Enforcement Unit.

The unit, which was created by South Carolina's new, tough anti-illegal immigration law, is still in the process of being formed. And the future of the new law itself remains murky.

Recently, . Those included a requirement that law enforcement officials check the immigration status of any suspect they believe may be in the country illegally, and making it a state crime to harbor or transport an illegal immigrant. A third stricken provision was a requirement that immigrants carry federal registration papers.

Other portions of the new law will still go into effect Jan. 1. The ultimate fate of the blocked provisions will likely be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court, which will rule on Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant legislation in the coming year. That state's controversial law is very similar to South Carolina's.

After the law goes into effect, and assuming the Supreme Court's decision doesn't affect other provisions, Johnson would essentially become the state's top cop on immigration. 

But Johnson's position is still a work in progress.

"We’re in the process of establishing policies and procedures," Smith said in a release about Johnson's appointment and the new unit. "We’re moving forward, but we can’t do anything in terms of enforcement until we get certification. That process can take as long as 18 months and we’re about six months into it." 

Smith said Johnson’s duties range from developing the 12-person unit’s policies and procedures to designing uniforms and badges for the unit as outlined according to state law. 

Johnson joined the Highway Patrol in 1978 after having served with the 82nd Airborne Division. That service included a tour of duty in Vietnam. A native of Marion County, Johnson and his wife have four sons, according to Smith's office.

Dino Bravo December 30, 2011 at 08:01 PM
It has been difficult because they use fake ID's and steal SS#'s. It makes it hard to hard to hold the company responsible. E-verify is the best way to go for now. Any law implemented that will let illegals and their employers know that their activity will not be overlooked any longer is necessary.
stanley seigler December 30, 2011 at 08:16 PM
@dino re: It has been difficult because they use fake ID's and steal SS#'s. It makes it hard to hard to hold the company responsible those who hire know this (fake IDs, etc) and hire anyway...for the cheap (in some cases the only) labor...they would continue to hire... they would take the chance of prosecution for cheap/only labor...as do many who break the law...drug dealers, prostitutes, bank robbers, wall street bankers/brokers, politicians, tax cheats...etcetc.
stanley seigler December 30, 2011 at 08:39 PM
FYI Farmer Keith Smith says Alabama, HB 56 will put him out of business...he'd already lost eight workers due to fears about the law's impending passage. "Majority of people that works for me," he said in a deep, marbled drawl, "with the kind of jobs I got, are illegal. There aint no use in beating around the bush saying they ain't or whatnot. Thats just the way it is." Fake papers, no papers, tax-filing mysteries..."I've worried about all this stuff and done it for years, and I just go to where I throwed my hands up and said, 'To hell with it. I'll just work 'em, pay 'em, and forget about it.'" ...anyone here legally refuses to do the kind of backbreaking work Smith has to offer. It stands to reason that anyone with good papers...even well-faked papers...would make the most of them. Agriculture is a grueling, billion-dollar industry in Alabama... Wages range from the $7.25-an-hour state minimum wage to about $14 an hour (other jobs are paid as "piecework"...30 cents a bucket of potatoes or a couple bucks per thousand chicken catchers). And while anti-immigration arguments hang on the idea that if illegal workers were barred from these jobs Americans would be enticed onto these fields and into these chicken houses, Smith and other farmers don't give it a second thought. Most of the non-Latinos that Smith has hired over the years last maybe a couple of hours at most, he says, before they quit. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/09/hb-56-alabama-immigration-law
keepyourpower December 30, 2011 at 09:05 PM
The farmer picked the wrong legal workers. There are people out there without jobs, homes, or food for their children. Believe me...they would work those farms...IF the farmer would just advertise further than he does.
stanley seigler December 30, 2011 at 10:24 PM
@keepyourpower: "Believe me" i will if you have worked the fields or the dirty construction jobs...or have had the responsibility for hiring productive crews... i also believe the farmer, who is not alone, and has been in the business for years and knows what it takes (pick crews and advertise) to make a living/profit...most who believe it's as simple as e-verification are in my opine clueless... and when the economy picks up and more desirable jobs are available the gringo field hands would not show up the next day...and; while they are working, unless they have been at for years (and none have) their productivity is not close to the average latino who has been at for many a year. as a yute, i worked a dirty construction job and i couldn't keep up with the illegals...i would have been fired if the superintendent hadnt been a friend. you may want to read the entire article...goto link.

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