The controversial Arizona state law that threatens employers with closure of their business for hiring unauthorized workers passes Constitutional muster, ruled a federal district court judge.
The plaintiffs, employer, immigrant and civil rights groups, say they will appeal their loss to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The plaintiffs had sued the state’s county attorneys, arguing the law unconstitutionally usurped the federal government’s power to regulate immigration.
U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake rejected this argument and dismissed the lawsuit, saying a state is within its rights to impose licensing sanctions, including suspension or revocation of a business license, against employers who intentionally or knowingly hire unauthorized workers. He also said the law provides employees with sufficient procedural due process before a license may be revoked.
This ruling on Feb. 7, 2008 paves the way for other states to implement similar laws with more confidence they will stand up under judicial scrutiny.
As a consequence of the new law, immigrants are fleeing the state, and businesses are saying they will not expand into Arizona while the law is in effect, according to the LA Times. The newspaper also reports that business owners have acknowledged firing illegal workers in response to the bill.
Notwithstanding the ruling, the Arizona Legislature is considering revisions to the statute, including a clarification that it applies only to workers hired after Jan. 1, the LA Times reported.