Stop Illegal Hiring Act
By Linda Bentley | July 16, 2008
Poised to undermine the will of the people
The Stop Illegal Hiring Act was heavily funded ($335,980) by Wake Up Arizona!, the consortium of businesses, led by McDonald’s franchise owner Mac Magruder, and supported by various chambers of commerce and trade associations, whose memberships rely on businesses being assured an endless supply of cheap illegal labor, and organizations that profit by exploiting illegal aliens, after efforts to thwart the Legal Arizona Workers Act failed in court.
Another $49,000 to ensure the initiative would make the November ballot came from the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, Arizona McDonalds Operators Association, Pepsi-Cola of Tucson, Pasquinelli Produce and Western Growers.
Last year Magruder played the race card to highlight what he said would be “devastating unintended consequences” on the state’s economy caused by the Legal Arizona Workers Act, and stated, “When brown people lose their jobs, white people will lose their jobs.”
The Legal Arizona Workers Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2008, requires all Arizona employers use the E-Verify program, which has an accuracy rate upwards of 97 percent. E-Verify takes the Form I-9 requirements one step further by verifying new hires are who they say they are by matching their names, birth dates, social security numbers and, in some instances, their photo against a federal database.
Prior to the law’s effective date, Arizona already began seeing the desired results, whereas illegal aliens were leaving the state voluntarily, knowing document fraud and identity theft would no longer assist them with obtaining work.
The key change the initiative’s backers are furtively seeking though, innocuously buried on page seven, is to undermine the Legal Arizona Workers Act by returning E-Verify to a voluntary program and permitting employers to resume the former “wink and nod” method of employment eligibility verification.
Proponents wish to return to the same verification system that has proven to be rife with fraud and identity theft for over 20 years.
The chairman of the political action committee is Attorney Andrew Pacheco, a former federal prosecutor and deputy Maricopa County attorney, who lost his bid to become Maricopa County Attorney to Andrew Thomas in 2004.
In his Feb. 7, 2008 opinion, which denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the Legal Arizona Workers Act from going into effect and dismissed their complaint, U.S. District Court Judge Neal Wake pointed to the I-9 process as still being the main employment verification process used nationally by employers and said, “However, the I-9 system has been thoroughly defeated by document and identity fraud, allowing upwards of 11 million unauthorized workers to gain employment in the United States labor force, with the number increasing at about half a million a year.”
Wake stated the Legal Arizona Workers Act was a conscious attempt to address the problem at the state level by imposing sanctions by “licensing and similar laws” upon those who employ unauthorized aliens, which he said was “expressly permitted by the U.S. Immigration Reform and Citizenship Act.”
Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 in response to problems with the I-9 system of employment verification, directing the Attorney General to implement three pilot programs to improve the employment verification system, one of which was the Basic Pilot.
In 2003, the IIRIRA expanded the Basic Pilot, now known as E-Verify, making it available to employers in all 50 states and extending its authorization until November 2008.
According to DHS, routine use of the same database provides information to federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies seeking to verify or determine the citizenship or immigration status of any individual as authorized or required by law to enable those agencies to make decisions concerning eligibility for federal, state or local public benefits, issuance of a license or grant, or government-issued credentials.
Wake stated, “In enacting IRCA, Congress was distinctly aware of the localized impacts of unauthorized immigration. It included provisions to reimburse states for the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens … and for the health, welfare, education, and other costs imposed upon states by its legalization of unauthorized aliens then in the country … Unlike IRCA’s temporary worker program provisions, which ‘preempt any state or local law regulating admissibility of nonimmigrant workers’ … Congress passed employer sanctions provisions that expressly preempt only some state powers and expressly preserve other state powers. It allowed complementary enforcement by states through ‘licensing and similar laws.’”
Pointing out the Legal Arizona Workers Act adopted the federal government’s substantive classification of aliens, as it appears in IRCA’s definition of “unauthorized alien,” Wake stated, “Under that definition, all aliens who are not permanent residents or authorized to work by IRCA’s legalization and temporary worker provisions, already have been classified as ‘unauthorized aliens.’ The Act’s E-Verify requirement simply designates the procedure for verifying the existing classification of a person. E-Verify and I-9 are ‘employment verification system[s]’ that Congress created to operate within the context of employer sanctions laws.”
Stop Illegal Hiring introduces new language to subject an employer to sanctions “if the employer has more than four employees and pays hourly wages or salary in cash and not by check or direct deposit to a financial institution” and fails to make withholding deductions, fails to report new hires to the Department of Economic Security or fails to provide coverage for workers compensation.
However, those same provisions already exist for employers with just one employee.
Visit www.azsos.gov/election/ 2008/general/ballotmeasuretext/i-12-2008.pdf to read the initiative in its entirety.