State Capitol News
4:10 pm
Fri September 10, 2010

Ruling Out of Pennsylvania May Influence State Employer Sanction Law

Phoenix, AZ – The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said a Hazleton Pennsylvania
ordinance making it illegal for companies to hire undocumented
workers is preempted by federal law. The judges acknowledged
there is an exemption that allows state and local governments to
go after the licenses of such firms. But they said that can be
done only after a company is found guilty by a federal
administrative law judge, not a state judge. Thursday's ruling is
significant because Arizona enacted a similar law in 2007 letting
state judges suspend or revoke the business licenses of companies
that knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Omar Jadwat is an
attorney for the ACLU which is challenging the Arizona law.

(What Hazleton stands for is what we've been saying all along,
which is that exception mean that states or cities have the
right to pass these independent, free-standing employer sanctions
schemes.)

But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Arizona's law.
That sets the stage for the U.S. Supreme Court, which is to
review the Arizona law in December, to spell out just how far
states can go in regulating immigration. And the fallout from
that might even affect the validity of the state's more recent
immigration statute designed to give police more power to
question and detain suspected illegal immigrants. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.