Businesses Request Delay of AZ Illegal Worker Law

December 19, 2007 ( - Some Arizona businesses and Hispanic civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit to temporarily block the state's new law imposing sanctions against employers that hire undocumented workers.

The Arizona Republic reports that under the Legal Arizona Workers Act, employers found to have knowingly hired an undocumented worker will have their business license suspended after the first offense and revoked after the second offense.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to declare that the new law is unconstitutional, to declare an injunction to prevent the state attorney general and attorneys for Arizona counties from taking actions to enforce the law, and to award them reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and other costs incurred by pursuing the lawsuit plus interest.

An original lawsuit was dismissed after the court decided the plaintiffs sued the wrong parties and did not show anyone had been harmed, according to the news report. In the new suit, the plaintiffs claim the Act’s mandatory use of the federal government’s E-Verify system to verify social security numbers of workers will cause harm to employers, in part due to cost. Attorneys for the plaintiffs pointed out that the system requires use of the internet and some plaintiffs do not have a computer or internet access.

The state, which already sent notices to employers that the Act would go into effect on January 1, 2008, argued that a delay in implementation would harm it because of the cost for sending out new notices.

Among other things, the complaint charges:

  • The Legal Arizona Workers Act is unconstitutional because it violates the right to due process guaranteed by the 14 th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • It is a violation of plaintiffs’ due process rights for the state of AZ to make mandatory the use the federal government’s voluntary E-Verify system.
  • The Act violates the Arizona Constitution provision prohibiting state and local governments to deprive any person of property without due process of law. The complaint said a business license is a property interest.
  • U.S. law, which includes a system of civil and criminal penalties for employers that knowingly hire undocumented workers, preempts state law.

The complaint is here .