The US Supreme Court has upheld an Arizona law that penalizes businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, legislation that opponents say is in conflict with federal immigration standards.
Immigration reform has become a hot-button topic this year, with many states proposing their own Arizona-style laws that aim to enforce toughened stance on undocumented workers. The Supreme Court’s 5-3 decision upholds the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007, which allows the state to suspend the licenses of businesses that intentionally violate work eligibility requirements. Furthermore, the state law requires employers to check the federal E-Verify system before hiring new workers.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayer were in dissent, saying federal law prohibits states from imposing their own immigration-style rules on employers.
The decision did not affect another controversial Arizona law that would give law enforcement the authority to stop and question anyone who is suspected of being in the country illegally. Last year, the Obama administration ordered the US Justice Department to file a lawsuit against Arizona to strike down the measure.