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Legal Eagle: Arizona's Immigration LawCWS 30 June 2.12

CWS 30

Employers watch out. Arizona's new law aimed at illegal immigrants targets employers, too, because companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers are subject to penalties under the new law. While companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants in Arizona can use an entrapment affirmative defense, the company must prove that the idea for hiring an undocumented worker originated with law enforcement officers or their agents who induced the employer to commit the violation.

Additionally, provisions requiring the use of the federal government's E-Verify system require employers to keep a record of each verification for either the duration of the worker's employment, or three years from the date of verification, whichever is later. Finally, the act makes it a Class 1 Misdemeanor for any occupant of a motor vehicle stopped on a street, roadway, or highway to hire and pick up (or attempt to hire and pick up) passengers for work at a different location, if the motor vehicle blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic. The prohibition applies whether or not the passengers are legally authorized to work in the United States. The act is set to go into effect on July 28, 2010.

Experts indicate that the inclusion of the entrapment affirmative defense suggests state and local law enforcement agencies will begin undercover investigations of employers and pursue more creative means of determining whether employers are knowingly or intentionally hiring undocumented workers. It would be a smart move for companies to train their human resources personnel on all applicable immigration compliance procedures, including proper completion of the Form I-9 and use of E-Verify, as is required under Arizona state law and for federal contractors.

Further, Arizona employers must continue to use E-Verify, retain records of all verifications and store them with the accompanying I-9 forms. Make sure you conduct regular I-9 audits to ensure all current employees have a complete and correct I-9 on file and all former employees have a complete and correct I-9 on file for one year following the date of termination or three years from the date of hire, whichever is later.

Companies need to work with their staffing agencies to make sure that they are in compliance with the new law for all Arizona workers.

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