It stabs Arizona in the back immediately after Arizona won its victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. The law that Arizona passed in 2007 (which suspends business licenses of employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens and, which has been enforced vigorously), would be preempted under the Legal Workforce Act. (Sec. 6, pp. 46-47.)
It is an affront to states’ rights. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of cooperative enforcement, with the states and the federal government working together to restore the rule of law in immigration. Yet this bill snatches defeat from the jaws of victory and tells the states that they can no longer take meaningful actions to go after employers that knowingly hire unauthorized aliens. Alabama adopted Arizona’s approach just two weeks after the Supreme Court victory. Dozens of other states are likely to follow in 2012 when the state legislatures go back into session. If the Legal Workforce Act passes, Congress will tie the states’ hands, forcing them to continue paying about $80 billion a year in fiscal costs caused by illegal immigration.
The Legal Workforce Act will be yet another federal law that goes unenforced. The federal government has been unwilling to aggressively enforce immigration laws in the workplace, and this law will be no exception. There is zero likelihood that the Obama Administration will go after employers who fail to use E-Verify or who knowingly help their employees circumvent the system (which is very easy to do by using a U.S. citizen’s stolen name and Social Security number). In contrast, states like Arizona have been very effective in enforcing their own laws. In Arizona, dozens of worksite raids have occurred. That is why the number of illegal aliens in Arizona dropped 16 percent between 2008 and 2010 — more than double the national average (of 7 percent)
The Legal Workforce Act gives a “workplace amnesty” to virtually all of the illegal aliens who are already employed in the United States. Aliens already working in the United States cannot be subjected to E-Verify unless they work for state or local governments. (sec. (b)(3)(A), p. 24) The Smith bill is clearly designed to keep the current population of illegal aliens employed and working in the United States in the country, so they would still be here if amnesty is granted in the future.
The Legal Workforce Act allows agricultural workers to skip E-Verify entirely. All an employer has to do is assert that the alien worked for him at some point in the past. (sec. (b)(1)(D), p. 17).
Special Interest Groups want to take the immigration issue off the table in the 2012 elections. Knowing the huge popular support for these state laws, Special Interest Groups want to eliminate them, and at the same time (falsely) claim that the issue of illegal immigration in the workplace is now resolved. Illegal immigration is an issue that voters consistently rank in their Top 5 issues of importance, and it needs to be used, not buried, in the 2012 elections.
Washington Examiner: 'Legal Workforce Act' undermines states' rights, must be defeated
By Lou Barletta
On May 3, 2011, the chief of police in Beaver Meadows, Pa., stopped a man for speeding. The driver spoke no English, so a translator was called. He didn't know his address. He had no job.
Yet he had $3,000 in cash in his pockets. He had two state-issued cards -- in different names -- that allowed him to access taxpayer-funded welfare. He admitted he was in the United States illegally -- and had been for six years.
On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced a bill (HR 2164) to require nationwide use of the E-Verify system, which checks a job applicant's citizenship and immigration status, via the Internet, to see if he or she is eligible to work.
While the Smith bill sounds good, in fact, it hobbles immigration enforcement. Negotiated with the pro-amnesty US Chamber of Commerce, the bill would establish a fairly toothless E-Verify requirement while defanging the only government bodies that are serious about enforcing immigration law -- the states.
Statement on Arizona by Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta:
“I support the actions taken by the state of Arizona and I welcome them to the fight that I started in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, four years ago with the passing of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act.
“Five years ago, I went to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. I told them about the increased presence of illegal aliens in my city and the increase in gang activity and crime. I also explained the impact this was having on my city’s small budget. Do you know what I got in return? A coffee mug, a pat on the back, and a, `Good luck with that.’
Background on Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act
In response to a rash of violent crimes and murders, as well as increased blight and drug trafficking connected to illegal aliens in the City of Hazleton, Lou Barletta said, “Enough is enough.”
In 2006, as Mayor of the City of Hazleton, Lou Barletta introduced ordinances that made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire illegal aliens and for landlords to knowingly rent to illegal aliens. Hazleton City Council passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act and Barletta signed it into law.
The ordinance did not punish illegal aliens or try to determine the residency status of any individual. The ordinance even provided several safe harbor measurers to employers and landlords.