COLUMBIA -- A black conservative organization in South Carolina rallied people at the Statehouse on Saturday to support tougher immigration laws.
State. Rep. Tim Scott, who is running for South Carolina's 1st congressional district seat was the speaker and would be the first black Republican congressman since Oklahoma's J.C. Watts retired in 2003.
"One thing the federal government should be doing is stopping illegal immigration," Scott said to the crowd of roughly 150 people -- who were almost all white.
Scott said if the U.S. wants to stop illegal immigrants from coming to the country, it should adopt policies like Mexico's that require all immigrants to register and carry identifying papers.
Scott said that he spoke to a group of 50 black leaders in Charleston recently and 90 percent of them were Democrats.
He said they applauded his positions on limiting the size of government, spending and free markets.
"And I said 'Welcome to the tea party,' " Scott said.
Still, Scott was one of only a handful of blacks attending the rally sponsored by the newly formed South Carolina Black Conservative Movement.
Event organizer and group founder Roweena Booker said she thinks many blacks are afraid breaking their historical attachment to the Democratic Party.
"We are trying to get the message out there that we do have the same values as conservatives," Booker said.
Her sister, Darlynn Thomas, said she doesn't identify as a Republican but that she does consider herself a conservative.
"I'm out here to take a stand for my conservative Christian values," the 54-year-old retired state employee said. "There are some people of color interested in taking our country back to where our morals guide us."