FEBRUARY 08, 2008
In a much-needed victory for immigration enforcement, a federal judge has upheld a landmark Arizona law that severely punishes businesses caught hiring illegal aliens.
Violators will face stiff fines and license revocation under the controversial measure, which was enacted by the state legislature last year and approved by Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano.
Opponents of the law offered the same weak argument that has been offered to challenge similar legislation in courtrooms around the nation; that the measure unconstitutionally infringes on federal immigration powers.
This week U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake in Phoenix refused that desperate argument, ruling that Arizona’s law does not conflict with federal immigration law which specifically lets states regulate business licensing. In his 37-page opinion, the judge clarified that federal statutes do not preempt states from suspending or revoking the licenses of firms that break the law.
Judge Wake also said that there is nothing illegal about requiring all firms to check the legal status of new workers with the federal government’s database as Arizona’s new law requires. The idea, according to legislators frustrated at the federal government’s inaction, is to ensure that employees are legally entitled to work in the United States.
The businesses and immigrant rights groups that initiated the lawsuit have vowed to appeal the decision, saying that the punishment is so harsh it will lead to discrimination against all Latinos to minimize the risk of being closed.
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