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Supreme Court upholds Arizona’s restrictions on hiring illegal immigrants

The Supreme Court has upheld Arizona’s Legal Arizona Workers Act. That law allows the state to shut down businesses that hire illegal immigrants:

A recently enacted Arizona statute—the Legal Arizona Workers Act—provides that the licenses of state employers that knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens may be, and in certain circumstances must be, suspended or revoked. The law also requires that all Arizona employers use a federal electronic verification system to confirm that the workers they employ are legally authorized workers. The question presented is whether federal immigration law preempts those provisions of Arizona law. Because we conclude that the State’s licensing provisions fall squarely within the federal statute’s savings clause and that the Arizona regulation does not otherwise conflict with federal law, we hold that the Arizona law is not preempted.

The high court’s majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts rejected Obama administration arguments that the Arizona law conflicted with federal immigration law:

  • Arizona’s licensing law falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the States and therefore is not expressly preempted.
  • The state law requires no more than that an employer, after hiring an employee, “verify the employment eligibility of the employee” through E-Verify.
  • Arizona’s requirement that employers use E-Verify in no way obstructs achieving the aims of the federal program. In fact, the Government has consistently expanded and encouraged the use of E-Verify, and Congress has directed that E-Verify be made available in all 50 States.

This is a huge win for those trying to do something about the never-ending flow of illegal aliens across our southern border. It is a huge loss for President Obama who will no doubt use it to continue to demonize the Supreme Court and rally his supporters for his reelection battle.

As Governor Pawlenty has pointed out, it is good to see that Justice Elena Kagen properly recused herself from participating in this ruling because of her previous position as President Obama’s Solicitor General. That is a precedent she must also follow when ObamaCare is presented before the court.

You can read the decision (pdf) here.

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