State Capitol News
Wed September 17, 2008
Employer sanctions law deemed legal
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – A federal appeals court ruled today that the state's nearly 9-
month-old employer sanctions law is legal. Arizona Public Radio's
Howard Fischer reports.
The law allows a judge to suspend or revoke all licenses of any
firm found guilty of knowingly hiring undocumented workers.
Business groups, employers and Hispanic rights advocates sued,
contending the statute illegally infringes on the exclusive right
of the federal government to control immigation. Appellate Judge
Mary Schroeder said it is true that only the federal government
can impose civil or criminal penalties. But she said Congress did
empower states to conclude that firms which hire illegal
immigrants can be put out of business. David Jones, president of
the Arizona Contractors Association, said he's not surprised.
(I would say we'll have to consult with our attorneys to see what
their interpretation is and what direction they want to go from
Rep. Russell Pearce who crafted the law said allowing it to
remain on the books not only helps save jobs for legal U.S.
residents but also benefits taxpayers.
(We've already saved millions of dollars in K-12. Every student
that doesn't show up that was here illegally is an $8,500 to
$10,000 savings to the taxpayer.)
The court also refused to void another part of the law which
requires employers to check the immigration status of all new
workers through the federal government's E-Verify system and fire
those who are found not to be in this country legally.
For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.