The Supreme Court has backed an Arizona law that punishes businesses hiring illegal immigrants. The 5-3 ruling Thursday is a victory for supporters of immigration reform on the state level. It was the first high court challenge to a variety of recent state laws cracking down on illegal immigrants in Arizona.
The hiring case turned on whether state law tramples on federal authority. “Arizona has taken the route least likely to cause tension with federal law,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. “It relies solely on the federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the federal government’s own system for checking employee status.”
Arizona passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007, allowing the state to suspend the licenses of businesses that “intentionally or knowingly” violate work-eligibility verification requirements. Companies would be required under that law to use E-Verify, a federal database to check the documentation of current and prospective employees. That database had been created by Congress as a voluntary, discretionary resource.
A 1986 federal act significantly limited state power to separately regulate the hiring and employment of “unauthorized” workers. An exception was made for local “licensing and similar laws.” Under the law, employees are required to review documentation to confirm someone’s right to work in the United States, including checking the familiar I-9 immigration form. Civil and criminal penalties were strengthened, but businesses making a “good faith” effort to comply with I-9 procedures were generally immune from prosecution.
The hiring case is Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (09-115).
Read the full article at CNN -http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/26/scotus.arizona.law/index.html?hpt=T2