Arizona Wins Big in Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

Hans von Spakovsky /

Arizona won a spectacular victory today in the Supreme Court in its ongoing efforts to do something about the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who reside in the state and cost Arizona taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion a year. In its ruling against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration, the Court also disproved the breathless claims of liberals and the editorial pages of publications like the New York Times that the conservative justices on the Court are just the handmaidens of big business who always rule in favor of corporate America.

The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) makes it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit an alien who is unauthorized to work in the United States. While IRCA imposed civil and criminal penalties on employers who violate this provision (when it is actually enforced by the Justice Department), it restricts the ability of states to implement similar penalties with one conspicuous exception. The federal law (8 U.S.C. §1324a(h)(2)) specifically allows states to impose sanctions on such employers “through licensing and similar laws.” That is exactly what Arizona did in 2007 when it passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). (more…)