Politics

Supreme Court upholds Ariz. employer sanctions law

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a provision in Arizona's controversial immigration laws that could spell trouble for Arizona businesses. The high court found that Arizona can suspend or revoke a company's business license if it knowingly hires undocumented workers.

First of all this is an Arizona law and it's not the part of the Arizona law that has created such a big uproar. Thursday's decision does not address the provision requiring immigrants to carry papers or police to check those papers. This decision does put a burden on Arizona businesses.

A couple of years ago, immigration officers raided a chain of restaurants in the Bay Area -- 63 undocumented workers were rounded up. If that same raid took place in Arizona, the owner of the chain could face a revocation of his business license. On Thursday, in a 5-3 decision the Supreme Court upheld that provision of Arizona's law and one requiring businesses to check the status of employees through the government's E-Verify Internet program.

"The economic impact is really quite devastating, the E-Verify program is a program that is known to be riddled with errors," said Karen Tumlin from the National Immigration Law Center.

Tumlin is one of the attorney's that litigated the case against the Arizona law. And outside San Francisco's oldest restaurant, Tadich Grill, the head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Rob Black, told ABC7 it's a bad deal for business.

"The last thing we want to do is create hindrances to hiring people and creating jobs and this is what this law does," said Black.

The Head of Citizens For Legal Employment and Contracting, Rick Oltman, completely disagrees saying the E-Verify requirement is something California should have.

"It is to send the message that, 'If you're in the country illegally, you are not welcome in our community, you are not welcome in our state.' That's the point of it," said Oltman.

Oltman's group is working to bring a similar law to the Bay Area community of Novato, but reaction against Arizona's immigration laws has been very vocal in the Bay Area and around the state. ABC7 political analyst Prof. Bruce Cain says California isn't following Arizona's lead.

"One because Republicans don't have control of either the governor's office right now or either house of the state legislature," said Cain. "But the more important point is, I don't see the Democratic Party going into the 2012 election taking any action that's going to anger the Latino community or upset the Latino community."

And the Arizona's immigration laws have upset Latinos in California to the point that Republicans in this state could suffer the consequences for years to come.

Again Thursday's ruling doesn't impact the Arizona law requiring immigrants to require papers, proving that they're in the country legally. That law is still working its way to the high court. Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals in San Francisco upheld a lower court decision striking down major provisions of that Arizona law.

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immigration, u.s. supreme court, politics, mark matthews
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