Thursday, September 18, 2008

Appeals court upholds Arizona immigration law

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an Arizona law that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants by revoking their licenses to do business in the state. Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard welcomed the ruling, and said his office would "continue to defend the statute should there be an appeal to the highest court."

Immigration, business and civil rights groups challenged the law, saying it was preempted by federal rules governing immigration.

They also contended the law violates employers' due process rights by denying them the chance to challenge allegations that their workers are illegal before their licenses are revoked. The appeals court ruled that federal law does not preempt the Act or its requirement that employers to use an electronic verification system to check the work-authorization status of employees through federal records.

The court also ruled that the law "can and should be reasonably interpreted to allow employers, before any license can be adversely affected, to present evidence to rebut the presumption that an employee is unauthorized." Although the court upheld the law "in all respects", it noted that its opinion did not bar later challenges once it is enforced.

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