Immigration & Justice

Supreme Court Says AZ Can Punish Companies Who Employ Illegal Workers

The WaPo has the story:

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Arizona may revoke the business licenses of companies that knowingly employ illegal immigrants, rejecting arguments that the state’s law intrudes on the federal government’s power to control immigration.

The court ruled 5 to 3 that Congress specifically allowed states such an option, and dismissed the objections of an unusual coalition that challenged the state law: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, civil rights groups, labor unions and the Obama administration.

The 1986 federal Immigration Reform and Control Act generally preempts states from using employer sanctions to control immigration. But Arizona took advantage of a parenthetical clause in the statute — “other than through licensing and similar laws” — to go after companies that knowingly and intentionally hired undocumented workers.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. agreed with the state’s reading
of the federal law.

“It makes little sense to preserve state authority to impose sanctions through licensing, but not allow states to revoke licenses when appropriate as one of those sanctions,” he wrote.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy,
Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. agreed with the outcome.

Kagan recused herself because she’d worked on the case as Solicitor General.

[More on this later.]

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