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Federal judge halts key parts of SC immigrant law

Federal judge blocks key parts of new SC immigration law, including status checks of suspects By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) ' A federal judge has blocked several provisions of South Carolina's tough new immigration law from taking effect New Year's Day.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Thursday granted the federal government's request for an injunction.

The ruling applies to portions that require law officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally after stopping them for something else. The judge also blocked parts barring the transportation of illegal immigrants and requiring immigrant registration cards.

The judge denied the state's request to suspend all hearings on the case until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a challenge to Arizona's similar law. South Carolina prosecutors say the nation's high court will likely rule in six months or less.

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