On May 26, 2011, the United States Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s “Legal Arizona Workers Act,” which provides that state employers who knowingly or intentionally employ “unauthorized aliens” may—and in certain circumstances must— have their business licenses suspended or revoked. The law also requires Arizona employers to use the federal internet-based program, E-Verify, to check the work authorization status of employees.
At issue in the case was whether the Arizona law is preempted by existing federal immigration laws, and is therefore invalid. In a majority opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito, and, for the most part, Thomas, the Court determined that, although the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) expressly preempts “any State or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens,” the Act falls within the definition of those “licensing and similar laws,” and therefore, it is not expressly preempted by IRCA.
To download the synopsis, click the link below.