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      Businesses to face sanctions under immigration law

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's labor agency has a warning for businesses across the state: Check the legal status of your new employees through a free, online system or face immediate penalties starting Sunday.

      The phase-in provision of the state's anti-illegal-immigration requirements ends with the fiscal year. For businesses of all sizes, that means no more warning for a first violation.

      The law requires businesses to use the federal online E-verify program to ensure their new hires are in the country legally or face punishments that start with probation and progress to a forced shutdown. Employees must be verified through the system within three business days of being hired.

      Jim Knight with the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation says there is no more grace period after July 1.

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