Courts Leave Arizona’s Immigration Laws Alone

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear any challenges to Arizona’s state laws penalizing businesses who “knowingly hire” undocumented or unauthorized workers.

Here are the few details from the Arizona Republic:

In September, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in ruling that the state could suspend or revoke the business licenses of employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

On Monday, a larger sampling of 9th Circuit judges declined further review of the case.

Arizona’s employer-sanctions law took effect in January 2008. To date, no employers have been prosecuted under the law.

Opponents of the statute – including the Arizona Contractors Association, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Chicanos Por La Causa – remain hopeful that it will be struck down. They point to employer-sanctions laws in other states that await court rulings regarding their constitutionality, and a possible future appeal of state-imposed immigration laws to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The opinion of the court can be downloaded here.

The plaintiffs had argued Arizona’s laws violate federal laws by going further in penalizing employers than IRCA does, and by compelling businesses to use the E-Verify system (even though federal laws make it an option only). They also argued these laws have the potential to cause discriminatory hiring practices.

The court didn’t disagree as much as they emphasized the appeal was really based on supposition, since no actual discrimination is being alleged and no employer had been deprived of their state license under the law.

They did say there was no overstepping by Arizona regarding the compulsory use of E-Verify, despite its persistent problems.


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