DECEMBER 01, 2008
Illegal immigrants fired because of a landmark Arizona law that severely punishes businesses caught hiring them have remained in the workforce by using other people’s identities to get jobs.
Fed up with the devastating effect of illegal immigration, legislators in the border state have enacted the nation’s toughest laws to curb the crisis. Among them is a measure, passed last year, which makes it illegal for businesses to hire undocumented workers. Those that do face stiff fines and license revocation.
Fearful of the penalties, businesses throughout the state cleared their payrolls of illegal aliens, who in turn, have managed to circumvent the sanction law by using fake identities and working for cash. The fraud has allowed dozens of undocumented workers and their families to remain in the country illegally, according to a news report published this week.
Examples include a factory worker who borrowed a friend’s Social Security number after a decade of working with a fake one, a construction worker who uses his legal resident brother’s documents at a Phoenix company and a car wash employee paid in cash after getting busted with fake documents as a fast-food restaurant manager.
There are an estimated 200,000 undocumented workers in Arizona who have been affected by the employee verification law, which took effect this year. Many of them worked for years using documents their employers knew were fake and those firms legally challenged the measure, claiming it unconstitutionally infringes on federal immigration powers and discriminates against all Hispanics.
But earlier this year a federal judge in Phoenix upheld the measure, ruling that it does not conflict with federal immigration law which specifically lets states regulate business licensing. The ruling clarified that federal statutes do not preempt states from suspending or revoking the licenses of firms that break the law.
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