By Allen Orr
Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The Supreme Court on May 26th upheld an Arizona law that requires all businesses to ensure that all new workers are authorized to work in the United States. The court said that as long as states follow federal guidelines for the definition of immigration status and rely on federal programs to make the determination, there is no federal conflict with the state law requiring employers to use E-Verify.
E-verify is a federal web-based system that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of a new hire based on information provided on the employee’s Form I-9. The system has received mixed reviews since its creation in 1996, then called a “basic pilot program.”
In 2008 the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was amended by Executive Order to require all government contractors and subcontractors to use the E-verify system for both new and existing employees working on federal contracts. Some black businesses were exempt from this regulation based on the nature and size of the contract. This regulation is different from Arizona law, as it is the federal government and not a state government imposing an immigration restriction.
Opponents of the Arizona law claimed the bill infringes on federal laws and that the E-verify system is flawed. While the E-verify system is imperfect, the Supreme Court has made it clear that states may now begin imposing its usage on all businesses. In the past, states were limited to imposing it on government contractors and public businesses.
The trend in local and state immigration enforcement is on the rise. More than 13 states have established or plan to establish some form of immigration enforcement law. Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for Arizona-style laws, businesses should be prepared for new licensure requirements by states.
Allen Orr is the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned firm based in Washington, DC, and focusing on US corporate compliance as well as global representation and assistance on immigration issues. Mr. Orr previously helped to build one of the leading immigration practices at a global law firm, where he developed a network of immigration practitioners, government officials and business leaders. Mr. Orr received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse College and a JD from Howard University’s School of Law. He is an active member of the DC, Virginia, American and National Bar Associations.