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Bucking the national trend to curb illegal immigration, the country’s most populous state has passed a law forbidding private businesses as well as state and local governments from screening workers’ immigration status.It’s a baffling move on the part of legislators in a state—California— with well-documented financial struggles and a whopping 12.1% unemployment rate. Never the less, lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor that will essentially ban any employer—private or public—from using a national online database known as E-Verify to check workers’ immigration status. California cities that currently use E-Verify must immediately stop if the bill becomes law.California’s famously liberal governor, 73-year-old Jerry Brown, is expected to sign the measure (Employment Acceleration Act) which couldn’t come at a worse time for the state with the largest concentration of illegal aliens. Besides record-high unemployment, the (not so) Golden State is suffering through a dire financial crisis that has forced the early release of incarcerated felons, massive teacher layoffs and a huge cut in its notoriously generous entitlement programs.The move also comes as local governments across the U.S. pass laws making E-Verify mandatory, especially to screen candidates that will get paid with taxpayer dollars. California’s measure also conflicts with a bill (Legal Workforce Act) pending in the U.S. House that would require that all of the nation’s employers use E-Verify. The Texas congressman who introduced the measure says it could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans and legal immigrants.Hundreds of thousands of employers across the nation use E-Verify and more than a dozen states have made it mandatory, even as the powerful open borders movement works to banish it. In 2007 Illinois became the first state to outlaw using the Homeland Security database to screen workers’ immigration status. The Bush Administration sued to stop the state from implementing the law and a watered down version was eventually implemented after a federal court nixed the original measure.The big question now is whether the Obama Administration, which claims that immigration is strictly a federal issue, will take action against California. In legal challenges to immigration control laws in Arizona and Alabama, the Department of Justice claims they conflict with federal immigration law and undermine the federal government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: “This decision will have an enormous impact on states across the country suffering from the scourge of rampant illegal immigration.” Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce: “This decision ensures that scofflaw businesses that put profits over patriotism can and will be punished.”

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Washington, DC — June 1, 2011

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton and Judicial Watch client Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce offered the following statements today regarding the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of Arizona’s “Legal Arizona Workers Act,” legislation crafted by Pearce to penalize Arizona businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens (Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, et al.,(No. 09-115)). The decision also upholds the constitutionality of the provision requiring all Arizona employers to use the E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of new employees.
“This Supreme Court decision was a tremendous victory for the rule of law. This decision will have an enormous impact on states across the country seeking to ease the burdens caused by rampant illegal immigration. State Senate President Pearce carefully crafted this legislation to be entirely consistent with federal law. And we are pleased the Supreme Court recognized once again the critical role states must play in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. The Obama administration’s plan of lax illegal immigration enforcement, sanctuary policies and amnesty only serve to worsen the illegal immigration problem. The High Court rightly called the Obama administration’s legal arguments attacking Arizona’s commonsense statute ‘contrary to common sense’ and having ‘no basis in law, fact, or logic…’ It’s time to take the only approach that works: law enforcement,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision of May 26, 2011, upholding the Legal Arizona Workers Act. This legislation is based on a simple but powerful solution to the illegal immigration crisis: enforce the law. It would be ideal if the federal government would do its job and secure the border. However, in the absence of leadership in Washington, states like Arizona have a responsibility to protect their citizens and uphold the law. This decision ensures that scofflaw businesses that put profits over patriotism can and will be punished. At the same time it will encourage illegal aliens in search of employment in Arizona to look elsewhere,” said Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce.On October 28, 2010, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce with the United States Supreme Court. In writing his opinion in the recent Supreme Court ruling, Chief Justice Roberts echoed Judicial Watch’s principle argument: “Arizona has taken the route least likely to cause tension with federal law. It relies solely on the federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the federal government’s own system for checking employee status.”

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