Hispanic Caucus chair to visit S.C.

Luis Gutierrez

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., will visit Charleston on Sunday to hear concerns about the state's new immigration law and to discuss the larger picture for national immigration reform.

The stop is part of a national tour for Gutierrez.

The Chicago area congressman was invited here by Diana Salazar of North Charleston, a third-generation Mexican-American who has become a leading advocate of the area's Latino community.

His visit comes as concern grows over South Carolina's new immigration law, which was scheduled to take effect in January but now is the subject of a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit.

The suit claims the law's provisions are unconstitutional and interfere with the federal government's powers to establish immigration policy.

To Salazar and others, the stakes are great. "It's going to affect not just the Latino family, but it will affect the state of South Carolina economically and emotionally," she said.

Gutierrez chairs Congress' Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Immigration and already has visited more than 20 cities this year to urge President Barack Obama to adjust his administration's deportation policies.

His office released a statement saying, "ramped up federal enforcement and state level measures in South Carolina and elsewhere have left immigrant communities feeling under siege."

What: Immigration forum.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday.

Where: International Longshoremen's Association hall, 142 Morris Drive, Charleston.

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