Arizona Governor Signs Controversial Immigration Law that Includes Strict Use of E-Verify by Employers

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed a controversial law that would require police officers to question anyone that they have reason to believe may be in the country illegally, while also directing employers to keep verification records of employee work eligibility through the E-Verify electronic eligibility verification system and make it a felony crime for failing to use E-Verify.

As reported on AZCentral.com, the signing of Senate Bill 1070 into law has led to angry protests, threats of future legal challenges, and even criticism from President Barack Obama himself. The Arizona Senate had passed the bill a few days before the Governor had signed it. The law should go into effect in early May, according to AZCentral.com, 90 days after the current legislative session ends.

While the bill addresses a range of issues relating to illegal aliens and illegal immigration – including making it a crime for illegal immigrants to work or solicit work in Arizona and requiring Arizona law enforcement to make a reasonable attempt “when practicable” to determine the immigration status of a person if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally – Senate Bill 1070 also:

  • 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.

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.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/04/23/20100423arizona-immigration-law-passed.html

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

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