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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Monday, December 19, 2011

Groups Pray for Immigration Solution

Greenville Times: Wilfredo Leon doesn't claim to know the answers to problems he sees coming with the state's new immigration law.

But he believes God has the answers, and that's who he and more than 350 others called on Sunday night during a prayer vigil in Falls Park in downtown Greenville.

Leon, an organizer of the vigil, said it was a reaction to South Carolina's immigration law, which would require law enforcement officers, upon "reasonable suspicion" that a person might be in the country illegally, to check his or her immigration status, though officers couldn't stop or arrest a person merely on that suspicion.

Leon, who was born in the U.S., said the law might lead to racial profiling and "violates the basic principal of justice that you're innocent and a policeman cannot detain you just because. He has to have reasonable cause and none of that is there."

Leon said he also believes the law divides the community.

"What's going to happen is just because we have certain features or we have an accent, we may be labeled undocumented. We may suffer the same kind of prejudice, the same kind of discrimination that is now affecting people that came into the U.S. without going through the immigration process and that's not right," he said.

Leon and other members of the South Carolina Immigration Coalition, a group that includes pastors, activists, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and the state NAACP, among others, organized the prayer vigil in response to the new law scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

The coalition wants a solution to the state's illegal immigration problem that is fair and just, Leon said.

During the vigil, they prayed, in Spanish and in English, for divine intervention to help find a solution that would unite and not separate.

The Justice Department and civil rights groups sued Gov. Nikki Haley and the state in federal court in Charleston to block the law from taking effect Jan. 1. A hearing is set today in Charleston.

Genaro Marin, a Berea pastor, said the law is like "denying the humanity of people."

"I think it's horrible that when we see someone, instead of saying 'How are you? Nice to meet you,' we say 'Where were you born? Show me your Social Security number,'" he said.

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