New Arizona Immigration Law

HB 2779, Arizona’s Fair and Legal Employment Act is set to begin January 1, 2008

Arizona’s new state law that prohibits employers from intentionally or knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens becomes effective January 1, 2008.  After December 31, 2007, every employer will be required to verify the employment eligibility of the newly hired employee through the “E-Verify” program. E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and provides an automated link to federal databases to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers.

Violation of this new law may result in probation and suspension or revocation of all state licenses held by the employer based on the following conditions:

· For a first violation of an employer knowinglyhiring an unauthorized alien, a mandatory three year probation will be imposed and may have all state licenses suspended for ten days.

· For a first violation of an employer intentionallyhiring an unauthorized alien, a mandatory five year probation and minimum10 day license suspension will be imposed.

· For a second violation during a time of probation, the employer will have all of their state licenses permanently revoked.

The current political landscape and immigration issues will continue to place more responsibility on the employers, with ICE and DHS most likely increasing enforcement of federal I-9 requirements. Therefore, employers should audit all of their I-9 forms for existing employees, either internally or using legal counsel. We recommend that all employers use the next two months reviewing their hiring procedures to ensure that they are compliant with the current federal Immigration Reform and Control Act, including the Form I-9 requirements.

A copy of the act (HB 2779; Laws 2007, Chapter 279) may be downloaded at: www.azleg.gov