High court sustains Ariz. employer sanctions law

By BOB CHRISTIE and MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press
5.26.11

PHOENIX “ The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers in the country illegally, buoying the hopes of supporters of state crackdowns on illegal immigration.

They predicted the ruling would lead to many other states passing laws that require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check that workers aren’t illegal immigrants. And some said the ruling bodes well for the prospects of a much broader and more controversial immigration law in Arizona, known as SB1070, to be found constitutional.

The state is appealing a ruling blocking that law from taking effect.

But others said it should not be read as a broad validation of such tactics. While they acknowledge that other states will now pass similar employer sanctions, they cautioned that the court did not make any sweeping endorsement of states’ rights to enforce federal immigration laws.

“It’s a very careful and narrowly reasoned opinion, so it doesn’t really tip the court’s hand one way or the other with respect to SB1070,’ said Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor who specializes in immigration law. “That being said, the court here is validating a state measure that implicates immigration enforcement. The court today has rejected an argument that the states have no business in immigration enforcement. That’s off the table.”

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