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Court OKs Arizona ‘Business Death Penalty’

May 27 2011

The Supreme Court of the United States upheld an Arizona law that requires employers to use the federal E-Verify system and can revoke the business license of those who knowingly or intentionally hire workers who are in the U.S. illegally — known as the “business death penalty.”

The court rejected arguments by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, civil rights groups and the Obama administration that the 2007 law infringes on the exclusive right of the federal government to regulate immigration, The Associated Press reported. The 5-3 decision — with Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissenting – was released Thursday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, lauded the top court’s decision and said he plans to introduce legislation making use of E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. employers. Presently, use of the system is voluntary on a national level although it is mandated in some states and for some government contracts.

E-Verify is a Web-based system that allows employers to electronically verify that newly hired employees are legally authorized to work in the U.S. More than 250,000 U.S. employers now use the program.

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