The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to hear challenges on a 2007 Arizona law that punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The Legal Arizona Workers Act suspends or revokes a company’s license to do business if they knowingly hire illegal immigrants. In addition, employers must use an electronic verification system to check the work authorization status of employees through federal records.
The Legal Arizona Workers Act was adopted after a federal immigration overhaul law died in Congress in 2007.
The Chamber of Commerce, the American Civil Liberties, as well as various immigration groups had challenged the law. The state of Arizona defended the law with the argument that states have a significant interest in addressing illegal immigration.
The Supreme Court will determine if the federal government can set national immigration policy and if that authority supersedes local and state immigration laws. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case and issue it’s ruling in the upcoming term. Similar to SB1070, the Obama administration has asked the court to review the AZ law and set it aside. This will be a significant decision as the country begins its national debate on immigration policy.