U.S. Supreme Court upholds Arizona law punishing employers who knowingly hire unathorized workers

Categories: Immigration Lawyer Blog San Diego

In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court said that states have the authority to impose sanctions on U.S. employers who hire unauthorized workers. The decision upholds the validity of a 2007 Arizona law that applied only to business licenses. Under the Arizona law, employers found to have violated the law can have their business licenses suspended or revoked.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a majority made up of Republican-appointed justices, said the Arizona’s employer sanctions law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.”

Business interests and civil liberties groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and the ACLU challenged the law. Lower courts, including the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, previously upheld the law.

The employer sanctions law has been only infrequently used in Arizona. It will be interesting to see if enforcement of the law will now increase and whether other states will follow with similar laws.