Employer Prosecutions Under AZ Sanctions Law On Hold Until March 1 Pending Court Ruling

Employers in Arizona received a reprieve until March 1, 2008 from prosecutions under a precedent-setting employer sanctions law pending a federal court ruling in a constitutional challenge to the state regulation.

The U.S. District Court judge has promised to rule on the lawsuit by early February, according to an article in The Arizona Republic. A copy of the court filing is available on the Bender’s Immigration Bulletin website here.

The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2008 and requires employers to use a fallible federal database to verify social security numbers and work eligibility of new hires or risk losing their business licenses for knowingly or intentionally employing illegal workers.

The plaintiffs, employer and civil rights groups, argue the law deprives employers of due process because they cannot challenge the government’s charges, leaving it to the employer to fix any problem with a social security number mismatch that indicates the employee is not eligible to work in the United States.

The plaintiffs also argue the state law is unconstitutional because immigration is an area reserved for federal regulation.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office says the law is constitutional because it falls under an exception granting states the right to regulate business licenses.

Employers nationwide are watching the outcome of this lawsuit because if the court upholds it as constitutional it could encourage other states to implement similar regulations.

For more background information on this case see our other article “AZ Employer Sanctions Law Clears Court Challenge for Implementation; Which State is Next?

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