To get a sense of how incoherent state-level efforts can be with regard to immigration, consider South Carolina. The Senate wanted to create a parapolice force, the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit, the legality of which has to be questionable. How much would this cost? Well, no one even bothered to guess.
Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens who led the effort to push the immigration bill through the Senate, said Thursday he did not know how the state would pay for the unit. He also did not know how much the fee would have raised.
The fee in question is one that would have taxed wire transfers, obviously aimed at immigrants. The problem is that this punishes the South Carolinian businesses who do the transfers, and they were unhappy enough to get the fee scrapped.
So where to get the money?
S.C. Rep. James Harrison, R-Richland, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he did not think the fee was an appropriate way to pay for the immigration enforcement unit. He suggested money come from the state general fund.
Harrison challenged the Senate to find the money.
“If this bill passes through the House, the Senate still has the budget,” Harrison said. “If they want to fund it, they can put it in the budget.”
But when you're dipping into the general fund for a parapolice force of unknown cost, remember that South Carolina has a $877 million budget deficit.