AUGUST 09, 2007
The nation’s most powerful business lobbying group, which annually spends millions of dollars to influence the executive and legislative branches, is challenging a new Arizona law that punishes those who hire illegal immigrants.
Approved by Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano last month, the law makes it a crime to hire illegal immigrants statewide and businesses caught doing so will face stiff fines and license revocation when the legislation takes effect in January.
The strict measure was created and approved to remove the economic incentive for illegal aliens who have made Arizona the busiest gateway into the United States. Napolitano said she signed the bill because, although immigration is a federal responsibility, it is abundantly clear that Congress finds itself incapable of coping with immigration reform.
Now the law’s constitutionality is being challenged by the powerful and highly influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses. The chamber’s vice president of litigation says the law needs to be overturned because “state and local attempts to regulate the employment of undocumented workers are unconstitutional and preempted by federal law.”
From its headquarters near the White House, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is known for its intense and costly lobbying efforts. In fact, the group likes to brag that I has more than 300 of the nation’s top policy experts, lobbyists and communicators.
In the last few years alone, the chamber spent more than $100 million to lobby the executive and legislative branches and in 2004 it broke a record for spending $53.38 million to influence lawmakers, the largest twelve-month amount reported by any group. The figures have been nearly as high every year since 2000.
Could this powerful and renowned group, notorious for its strong and unconditional support of George W. Bush administration policies, prevent a state deeply burdened by illegal immigration from enforcing its new law?
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