(A) If a law enforcement officer of this State or a political subdivision of this State lawfully stops, detains, investigates, or arrests a person for a criminal offense, and during the commission of the stop, detention, investigation, or arrest the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, the officer shall make a reasonable effort, when practicable, to determine whether the person is lawfully present in the United States, unless the determination would hinder or obstruct an investigation.

(B)(1) If the person provides the officer with a valid form of any of the following picture identifications, the person is presumed to be lawfully present in the United States:

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 17-13-170

  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.

(a) a driver’s license or picture identification issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles;

(b) a driver’s license or picture identification issued by another state;

(c) a picture identification issued by the United States, including a passport or military identification; or

(d) a tribal picture identification.

(2) It is unlawful for a person to display, cause or permit to be displayed, or have in the person’s possession a false, fictitious, fraudulent, or counterfeit picture identification for the purpose of offering proof of the person’s lawful presence in the United States. A person who violates the provisions of this item:

(a) for a first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days; and

(b) for a second offense or subsequent offenses, is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than five years.

(3) If the person cannot provide the law enforcement officer with any of the forms of picture identification listed in this subsection, the person may still be presumed to be lawfully present in the United States, if the officer is able to otherwise verify that the person has been issued any of those forms of picture identification.

(4) If the person is operating a motor vehicle on a public highway of this State without a driver’s license in violation of Section 56-1-20, the person may be arrested pursuant to Section 56-1-440.

(5) If the person meets the presumption established pursuant to this subsection, the officer may not further stop, detain, investigate, or arrest the person based solely on the person’s lawful presence in the United States.

(6) This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer who is acting as a school resource officer for any elementary or secondary school.

(C)(1) If the person does not meet the presumption established pursuant to subsection (B), the officer shall make a reasonable effort, when practicable, to verify the person’s lawful presence in the United States by at least one of the following methods:

(a) contacting the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit within the South Carolina Department of Public Safety;

(b) submitting an Immigration Alien Query through the International Justice and Public Safety Network;

(c) contacting the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Law Enforcement Support Center; or

(d) contacting the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s local field office.

(2) The officer shall stop, detain, or investigate the person only for a reasonable amount of time as allowed by law. If, after making a reasonable effort, the officer is unable to verify the person’s lawful presence in the United States by one of the methods described in item (1), the officer may not further stop, detain, investigate, or arrest the person based solely on the person’s lawful presence in the United States.

(3) If the officer verifies that the person is lawfully present in the United States, the officer may not further stop, detain, investigate, or arrest the person based solely on the person’s lawful presence in the United States.

(4) If the officer determines that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, the officer shall determine in cooperation with the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit within the South Carolina Department of Public Safety or the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as applicable, whether the officer shall retain custody of the person for the underlying criminal offense for which the person was stopped, detained, investigated, or arrested, or whether the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit within the South Carolina Department of Public Safety or the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as applicable, shall assume custody of the person. The officer is not required by this section to retain custody of the person based solely on the person’s lawful presence in the United States. The officer may securely transport the person to a federal facility in this State or to any other point of transfer into federal custody that is outside of the officer’s jurisdiction. The officer shall obtain judicial authorization before securely transporting a person to a point of transfer that is outside of this State.

(D) Nothing in this section must be construed to require a law enforcement officer to stop, detain, investigate, arrest, or confine a person based solely on the person’s lawful presence in the United States. A law enforcement officer may not attempt to make an independent judgment of a person’s lawful presence in the United States. A law enforcement officer may not consider race, color, or national origin in implementing this section, except to the extent permitted by the United States or South Carolina Constitution. This section must be implemented in a manner that is consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons, and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens.

(E) Except as provided by federal law, officers and agencies of this State and political subdivisions of this State may not be prohibited or restricted from sending, receiving, or maintaining information related to the immigration status of any person or exchanging that information with other federal, state, or local government entities for the following purposes:

(1) determining eligibility for any public benefit, service, or license provided by the federal government, this State, or a political subdivision of this State;

(2) verifying any claim of residence or domicile, if determination of residence or domicile is required under the laws of this State or a judicial order issued pursuant to a civil or criminal proceeding in this State;

(3) determining whether an alien is in compliance with the federal registration laws prescribed by Chapter 7, Title II of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act; or

(4) pursuant to 8 U.S.C. Section 1373 and 8 U.S.C. Section 1644.

(F) Nothing in this section must be construed to deny a person bond or from being released from confinement when such person is otherwise eligible for release. However, pursuant to the provisions of Section 17-15-30, a court setting bond shall consider whether the person charged is an alien unlawfully present in the United States.

(G) No official, agency, or political subdivision of this State may limit or restrict the enforcement of this section or federal immigration laws.

(H) This section does not implement, authorize, or establish, and shall not be construed to implement, authorize, or establish the federal Real ID Act of 2005.

(I) Any time a motor vehicle is stopped by a state or local law enforcement officer without a citation being issued or an arrest being made, and the officer contacts the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit within the Department of Public Safety pursuant to this section, the officer who initiated the stop must complete a data collection form designed by the Department of Public Safety, which must include information regarding the age, gender, and race or ethnicity of the driver of the vehicle. This information may be gathered and transmitted electronically under the supervision of the Department of Public Safety, which shall develop and maintain a database storing the information collected. The Department of Public Safety must promulgate regulations with regard to the collection and submission of the information gathered. In addition, the Department of Public Safety shall prepare a report to be posted on the Department of Public Safety’s website regarding motor vehicle stops using the collected information. The General Assembly shall have the authority to withhold any state funds or federal pass-through funds from any state or local law enforcement agency that fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection.