Arizona Senate Passes Tough Immigration Bill That Includes Stricter Rules on E-Verify Usage

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

The Arizona senate has passed a controversial bill that – along with requiring law enforcement officers to question anyone that they have reason to believe might be in the country illegally – would direct employers to keep verification records of employee work eligibility through the government’s E-Verify electronic eligibility verification system and make it a felony crime for failing to verify employment eligibility with E-Verify.

According to a report on ABC15.com from Phoenix, AZ, Senate Bill 1070 now goes to Governor Jan Brewer, who can sign the bill into law or veto it and send it back to the legislature. Brewer has not yet taken a position on the measure championed by fellow Republicans.

While the bill addresses a range of issues relating to illegal aliens and illegal immigration, Senate Bill 1070 also calls for “Investigations of Employers” that, among other things:

  •  Directs employers to keep verification records of their employees’ work eligibility through E-Verify, and;
  • Establishes a class 3 felony for failing to: a) verify employment eligibility through E-Verify or b) keep records of verifications.

Besides the strict new laws on E-Verify usage, Senate Bill 1070 also “stipulates that an employer is not entrapped in an investigation if the employer was predisposed to knowingly or intentionally employ an unauthorized alien and law enforcement officers or their agents merely provided the employer with an opportunity to do so” and “states that it is not entrapment for law enforcement officers or their agents merely to use a ruse or to conceal their identities.”

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – an investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the primary authority for enforcing immigration laws – has recently focused more on worksite audits of employee records, including the Employment Eligibility Verification form (“I-9 Form”), as a way to curb illegal immigration.  Employers can risk possible fines, penalties, and jail time if they do not comply with certain I-9/E-Verify regulations.

Since the I-9 form is an important part of a comprehensive safe hiring strategy, employers using the E-Verify system maychoose a third-party provider to help maintain compliance. Employment Screening Resources (ESR), an authorized E-Verify Designated Agent, can assist employers in virtually eliminating SSA mismatch letters, improving the accuracy of wage and tax reporting, protecting jobs for authorized workers, and in maintaining a legal workforce. For more information about E-Verify, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Sources:

http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/central/story/Arizona-Senate-passes-controversial-immigration/VNapFEWhCUKmnwrI1RAh3Q.cspx

http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/summary/s.1070pshs.doc.htm

http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf