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Congressman: Immigrants can fight tough new SC law

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BRUCE SMITH | November 30, 2011 03:44 PM EST | AP


CHARLESTON, S.C. — An Illinois congressman is urging federal officials to drop deportation proceedings against a South Carolina worker.

Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez appeared Wednesday with Gabino Sanchez, a 27-year-old construction and landscaping worker, during an initial appearance at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Charleston.

Sanchez was arrested on a traffic violation, found not to have a driver's license and to be an illegal immigrant and reported to the federal agency. Gutierrez argued that deportation proceedings should be dropped under an agency policy that now provides for prosecutorial discretion in such cases.

Sanchez, who arrived in the U.S. from Mexico 13 years ago, has a wife and two children who are U.S. citizens and had never before been arrested.

The congressman said deportation reviews represent a way for immigrants to "fight back" against tough new state immigration laws, such as a South Carolina law taking effect Jan. 1.