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Supreme Court Upholds Employer Sanctions Law

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Arizona’s law that revokes the business licenses of businesses and corporations hiring illegal immigrants.  The 5-3 vote was a rejection of challenges to the law by a coalition of business people and civil rights organizations.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is calling the decision a victory:

“I could not be more gratified by today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the legality of the Legal Arizona Workers Act and the principle of federalism, more generally.  Despite the Obama Administration’s opposition at the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona and all states are now free to take down the ‘Help Wanted’ sign for illegal aliens in their states.   Arizona’s employer sanctions law allows the vast majority of businesses that want to play by the rules to comply with federal and state laws against hiring illegal aliens, and seeks to punish those employers who take advantage of the federal government’s immigration failures.   One result of the Legal Arizona Workers Act: Arizona employers now lead the nation in the use of the federal E-Verify system for determining the legal status of new employees.

“Today’s decision also acknowledges that federalism is alive and well. The Court validated this long-standing principle by noting that ‘a high threshold must be met if a state law is to be pre-empted for conflicting with the purposes of a federal Act.’   Likewise, Judge Carlos Bea’s dissent in Arizona’s appeal on S.B. 1070 to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the intent of Congress was ‘to provide an important role for state officers in the enforcement of immigration laws …’  While S.B. 1070 and the Legal Arizona Workers Act are obviously different laws, I am hopeful and optimistic that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Arizona’s future appeal of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision against S.B. 1070 and apply the same general principle of federalism by rejecting claims of federal preemption.


“In light of today’s decision, I am more adamant than ever that states do have a complimentary role in enforcing federal immigration laws, despite the Obama Administration’s opposition at every turn.   I want to assure Arizonans, and all Americans, that the State of Arizona will not rest until the federal government secures our border and enforces federal immigration laws.”


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