U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Law Requiring Workers to be Legal. Left is Confused.
In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law which allowed for the suspension or revocation of a business’s license to do business in Arizona if the company was found to be intentionally employing illegal immigrants. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which obviously has some significant members that like cheap labor, challenged the law, arguing that it is preempted by federal law. For those of you out there who are aren’t boring, “preempted” simply means the federal government controls the issue completely, thereby leaving nothing for the states to do. Here, the feds had enacted their own law that punishes businesses that knowingly employ illegals with civil or criminal sanctions (money damages or jail time). The federal law also expressly prohibits state laws from doing the same thing. Thus, preemption. However, the federal law also expressly allows states to impose their own sanctions “through licensing and similar laws.”
The majority, made up of the so-called “conservatives” on the court, ruled that Arizona’s law, which instructs courts to suspend or revoke the licenses of Arizona businesses that knowingly employ illegals, clearly fell within the federal exception allowing a state to issue sanctions through its “licensing” laws. To that I say: Hooked on Phonics works. The majority also upheld Arizona’s law that required each employer to confirm the immigration status of potential employees by using the E-verify system. E-verify allows an employer to send information supplied by the employee to the federal government via the internet, and then be told whether the employee is able to be legally employed.
This was a beneficial decision because it will allow Arizona to try and put an end to illegal immigration by targeting its catalyst: employers. It also gives every other state a template to use in their own legislation. Finally, it was also an easy decision, because the Arizona law does exactly what the federal law said it could do: impose sanctions through its business licensing laws. Of course, three of the four “liberals” on the court sided with the Chamber of Commerce; although not because they like big business (the fourth lib, Elena Kagan didn’t hear the case).
I’m not going to bore you with the details of the three dissenting opinions. Let me just say that the justices had to go through some serious contortions of law and the English language to even approach well-reasoned decisions. Their “legal” reason for trying to strike down the law: while Congress may have specifically made sanctions through “licensing laws” an exception to federal preemption, Congress didn’t actually mean it. The real reason why they wanted to strike down the law: it increases the possibility of a business discriminating against someone of non-European heritage (despite the existence of anti-discrimination laws). Oh yeah, the law also makes it harder for illegals to get jobs. And without jobs, the illegals may go back to their countries of origin, thereby making it more difficult for community organizers to get them registered to vote so that they can vote for Democrats. [Places broad brush back into bag].
Bottom line: good decision. The easiest, and cheapest, way to combat illegal immigration is to go after the businesses that employ them. And since the federal government has no interest in enforcing its own immigration laws, while at the same time turning a blind eye to cities like Chicago that blatantly advertise themselves as “sanctuary cities,” someone had to do something…and Arizona’s on the front lines. Oh, and the law clearly falls into the federal exception. So no “activist” judges here. Which is good.