A House subcommittee Thursday morning eliminated the funding source for a proposed statewide illegal immigration enforcement unit.
The immigration bill had included a provision that would charge a fee every time an S.C. resident wired money overseas. However, the measure faced strong opposition from the financial industry, which led the House judiciary subcommittee to remove the fees.
The bill, which originated in the senate, would create a special unit under the S.C. Department of Public Safety that would specialize in immigration laws. The senate included the fees on electronic transfers as a way to pay for the unit, which will require the state to hire additional officers, train them and equip them with cars and other gear.
On Thursday, representatives from PayPal, Fiserve, the S.C. Retail Association and the S.C. Association of Convenience Stores spoke against the fee. They argued that it was a unfair tax on military families, missionaries, college students and other state residents who send money overseas. They also said banks, retailers and financial wire services would have to bear the burden of collecting the fee on behalf of the state.
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S.C. Rep. James Harrison, R-Richland, introduced the amendment to strike the fee from overseas financial transactions. The five-member committee gave it unanimous approval.