The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a decision upholding an Arizona Law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers who are undocumented. The court stated that the federal immigration laws give states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire undocumented workers. The Arizona Law allows the state to revoke the business license of employers that knowingly hire undocumented workers and requires employers in the state to use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system. The court found that the licensing portion of the Arizona law is not preempted by federal law. It also found that the mandatory E-Verify requirement does not conflict with the federal government’s employment verification scheme.
Immigration advocates emphasized that the decision is limited in scope because it does not address the broader legal provisions contained in the Arizona law. These provisions include requiring police while enforcing other laws to question a person’s immigration status if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally. These broader provisions may also be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the future. However, this decision may embolden other states to pass similar laws requiring employers to use the E-Verify system to verify workers employment eligibility in order to either obtain and/or maintain business licenses to conduct business in those states.