(Charleston-AP) December 18, 2005 - Illegal immigrants would spend five years in prison and lose their cash and cars under legislation a Charleston lawmaker is pushing.
State Representative John Graham Altman of Charleston says the message is South Carolina is not going to be a haven for illegal aliens.
Altman's legislation is the latest from legislators around the nation who want tougher laws to curb illegal immigration.
Legislators in 21 states this year introduced more than 80 bills targeting illegal immigrants and their access to public services, including education and health care; let local police make immigration arrests or force government service agencies to report illegal immigrants.
In South Carolina alone, legislator's proposals have included barring illegal immigrants from receiving workers' compensation benefits and requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote or seeking help from public assistance programs.
Charleston Southern University economist Al Parish says illegal immigrants now are the backbone of the construction industry and landscaping business in the state. Without them, he said, costs would go up significantly.