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Cross-Post: Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Labor Law, But It’s No Model for SB 1070

Imagine 2050 Staff • May 30, 2011

Originally published on Colorlines by Jamilah King - Thursday, May 26 2011

Today the Supreme Court ruled to uphold an Arizona law that punishes businesses for hiring undocumented workers. Yet while the ruling on the four-year-old law is considered by some to be a test run for Arizona’s much-maligned SB 1070, immigrant rights advocates are careful to point out that today’s ruling should not be used as a barometer for the impending federal battle over one of the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant laws.

“Today’s decision is a narrow one that only upholds Arizona’s specific law on employment verification,” the ACLU said in a press release. “The decision has nothing to do with SB 1070 or any other state or local immigration laws. We are disappointed with today’s decision, and believe it does not reflect what Congress intended.”

The state passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007. The law allows Arizona to suspend the licenses of businesses that “intentionally or knowingly” violate work-eligibility verification requirement, reports CNN. It also requires businesses to use E-Verify, federal database that’s been the subject of recent controversy. Julianne Hing wrote in February that critics of the program contend that E-verify suffers from serious flaws. A report released by USCIS showed that the system commonly flags workers who later turn out to be authorized to work in the country.

Thursday’s 5-3 ruling is, for now, good news for Governor Jan Brewer and right wing immigration advocates who’ve been aggressively pushing policies that criminalize undocumented immigrants across the country. Meanwhile, the Obama administration argued that the Arizona employer law infringes on federal oversight of immigration issues.

Continue reading this article at Colorlines.com.

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