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Injunction Junction -- Arizona Immigration Law Collides with Federal Judge
07/30/2010

A federal judge in Arizona blocked the implementation of several key provisions of Arizona's controversial new immigration law.  This temporary blockage allows for more hearings and legal arguments to take place in the coming months by delaying (and maybe eliminating) the Arizona law. 

One thing I noticed in the days leading up to the effective date of the Arizona law last week was the increase in rallies and demonstrations.  With these demonstrations, the public and political attention paid to immigration issues is bound to grow. At the end of the day, the blockage (or non-blockage if it turns out that way down the road) isn't really the issue.  The Arizona law brings to the forefront the issue of immigration reform versus illegal immigration.  There is a growing perception the federal government is unable or unwilling to act to prevent illegal immigration.  At the same time, the country's economic struggles have resulted in more negative attention on employers and more calls for stronger employer sanctions for those employing illegal workers. 

The anti-immigrant messages focused on the loss of jobs for U.S. citizens has a tendency to catch the attention of local and state politicians.  As a result, there have been attempts in by a number of state legislatures to pass varying forms of immigration-related state laws.  Most of these efforts have been met with court challenges, like this most recent version in Arizona.  At the root of the legal wrangling is whether federal law preempts any attempts by the states to enact laws in this area. 

At the end of the day, the state legislatures and the court fights are probably just a lot of background noise at this point.  The real impact of all this effort may be a greater effort at the federal level to enforce existing laws and/or enact new ones designed to reform the immigration landscape.  Employers should keep an ear to the ground as these changes may have a big impact on their businesses.  One example of a recent change (albeit almost two years old) is the issuance of the Executive Order requiring government contractors to use the E-Verify system for new hires and some existing employees.  It won't be shocking to see all employers being required to use E-Verify in the coming years as part of some reform effort.  Stay tuned in the coming months as the Arizona law gets more attention and as some of the earlier legislation passed in other states makes it way through the appellate courts. 

 


Editors
Don Berner Image
Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
Boyd Byers Image
Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
Jason Lacey Image
Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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