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South Dakota State Immigration Laws

Learning about the complex labyrinth of immigration laws is overwhelming. It could pose challenges. This is particularly true for those dealing with the immigration system or those at risk of deportation or removal. But, immigrants need to understand their rights and responsibilities under this law.

This article will explore the following topics related to immigration laws:

This FindLaw article will explore relevant topics about immigration law. Here's a helpful guide for immigrant communities in South Dakota.

Law Enforcement and Immigration in South Dakota

Local and state authorities work with federal agencies to enforce immigration laws. The Criminal Apprehension Program (CAP), implemented by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), emphasizes this collaboration. This program aims to strengthen the cooperation between federal and local agencies to maintain the nation's security.

CAP supports ICE's enforcement and removal operations. It arrests and removes non-U.S. citizens who threaten U.S. communities. Its focus is to identify and remove imprisoned and convicted non-U.S. citizens at federal and state levels and those at large.

Below are some of the government entities that administer immigration matters in the United States:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — DHS is the main body that guards the U.S. against security threats. The department has various roles. Included among them are the following:

  • Management of immigration law enforcement
  • Overseeing border security
  • Coordination of emergency response

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — USCIS, a part of the DHS, is the agency that manages legal immigration. It processes and administers applications for green cards, naturalization, citizenship, visas, and other immigration benefits. It also checks foreign nationals' lawful entry and residency in the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — ICE also operates under the DHS umbrella. It plays a vital role in securing the integrity of the immigration system in the country. Its primary duties include investigations and detaining people who violate immigration laws.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — Another part of the DHS is Customs and Border Protection. It works at controlling, managing, and securing the U.S. borders. It ensures that all goods and people moving in and out of the U.S. borders follow laws and regulations. Its two main roles are:

  • Prevent illegal trafficking of contraband and people across the U.S. border
  • Support lawful international travel and trade

These government entities collectively ensure the security and lawfulness of immigration operations within the U.S.

South Dakota Employment Checks

Employment checks are important to verify the employment eligibility of migrants in the United States.

The federal government created E-Verify, a centralized online system to check employment eligibility. It allows employers to check the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify matches the person's data with Social Security Administration and DHS records.

A growing number of states make E-Verify mandatory for public or private employment. But in South Dakota, E-Verify is voluntary. The state does not require employers to use the system when hiring employees. An exception may apply to contractors and subcontractors working with the state government.

Driver's License/ID Requirements

Undocumented immigrants in South Dakota cannot get state identification cards or driver's licenses. But, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients can get ID. The following are the requirements to get a driver's license:

  • The person must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  • Have a valid driver's license
  • Two documents to prove their physical address in South Dakota

The applicant must provide the following data:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • The last four digits of the Social Security number

Public Benefits Restrictions

Immigrants without documentation are generally not eligible to get most federal public benefits. But, there are a handful of benefits that they can get. This includes those that are essential for protecting life and safety. The following are some of the benefits that immigrants living here illegally can get:

  • Emergency Medicaid
  • Healthcare and nutrition programs for women, infants, and children
  • Emergency shelter, transitional housing, health, and life safety services
  • Child Health Insurance Program

Note that states can grant or refuse public benefits to immigrants without proper documentation. These discretionary benefits include Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). For instance, in Texas, North Dakota, Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, and South Dakota, immigrants have to meet the following criteria:

  • Arrived in the U.S. before or after Aug. 22, 1996
  • Lived in the U.S. for five years

Educational Benefits

South Dakota does not expand its access to in-state tuition to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. But, the South Dakota Board of Regents indicated that refugees may be eligible for in-state tuition. They must meet specific residency requirements.

A national organization called TheDream.US could offer scholarships to students without proper documentation and DACA recipients. They may be able to attend eligible post-secondary schools all over the United States.

Undocumented students and DACA recipients may also be eligible to access out-of-state scholarships for the following institutions:

  • Delaware State University
  • Trinity Washington University (Women's College)
  • Christian Brothers University
  • Eastern Connecticut State University

Housing Ordinances and Immigration

In 1973, the South Dakota legislature created South Dakota Housing. Its mission is to give people affordable housing in the state.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 also protects housing rights. The Act makes any form of discrimination in housing illegal.

Related Resources

South Dakota has several nonprofit organizations and assistance programs for immigrants. These organizations provide legal assistance to various immigration matters. The legal services may range from an adjustment of immigration status to legal help for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Below are some of the organizations in South Dakota:

Note that this list is not exclusive. Other service providers may also offer referrals to social services for immigrants. For more information, visit the American Immigration Council website or seek legal advice from an immigration attorney near you.

Seek Legal Advice from an Immigration Attorney

The intricacies of immigration law vary in every state. Some rules and regulations are applicable in some states but not in others. For instance, immigrants need proper documentation to get driver's licenses in Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, but in South Dakota, they cannot.

Due to these varying rules, you should seek the legal advice of an immigration attorney. They can provide legal advice applicable to your case. They may also provide legal representation to migrants going through immigration court.

To look for an immigration attorney near you, visit FindLaw's directory of immigration attorneys. This directory compiles immigration attorneys from all 50 states, even states where it can be more challenging to find an attorney, such as Montana, South Carolina, Maine, or Vermont.

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