The Obama administration has boosted its efforts to bar state-level enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws by suing South Carolina over its new immigration reform law.

The Monday announcement by the Department of Justice follows the news that the Department of Homeland Security has quietly canceled long-standing checks of transportation hubs for illegal immigrants.

Administration officials defended the controversial lawsuit Monday, despite the nation’s unemployment rate of at least 9 percent.

But South Carolina officials pushed back. “If the feds were doing their job, we wouldn’t have had to address illegal immigration reform at the state level,” said Rob Godfrey, a spokesman for the Republican Gov. Nikki Haley. “Until they do, we’re going to keep fighting in South Carolina to be able to enforce our laws.”

Under the South Carolina reform, police officers are required to summon federal immigration authorities if they suspect an arrested person is an illegal alien. The law also makes it a felony for people to use fake identification documents for illegal immigrants, and for people to transport illegal immigrants.

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