This Tuesday, Arizona's death penalty goes into effect for businesses that knowingly hire workers who have not been licensed to work by the US Government. Employers must use the e-Verify system the Federal government has in place to confirm which human beings are allowed by the federal government to work in this country and which people businesses are not allowed to employ. Businesses that don't face loss of their business license (in itself a bit of government permission to perform consensual commerce I should not have to obtain).
There are any number of ironies in this law:
- The Arizona government has resisted applying the same tight standards to receipt of government benefits, meaning the state is more comfortable with immigrants seeking government handouts than gainful employment.
- The state of Arizona resists asking for any sort of ID from voters. This means that the official position of the state of Arizona is that it is less concerned about illegal immigrants voting and receiving benefits than it is about making sure these immigrants don't support themselves by working. This is exactly the opposite of what a sane proposal would look like. (and here)
- In the past, we have used Arizona drivers licenses to verify citizenship. By implementing this law, the Arizona Government has said that an Arizona driver's license is not sufficient proof of citizenship. Unable to maintain the integrity of their own system (e.g. the drivers license system) the state has effectively thrown up its hands and dumped the problem on employers
- The e-verify system, which the law requires businesses use, currently disappears in 11 months.
- The law requires that the e-Verify system be used for both current and new employees. It is, however, illegal under federal law to use the e-Verify system on current employees.
- In fact, the e-Verify system may only be used within 3 days of hire -- use it earlier or later, and one is violating the law. In a particular bit of comedy, it is illegal to use the e-Verify system to vet people in the hiring process. The government wants you to entirely complete the expensive hiring process before you find out the person is illegal to hire.
- There are apparently no new penalties for hiring illegal immigrants at your house (since there is no business license to lose). State legislators did not want to personally lose access to low-cost house cleaning and landscaping help. We're legislators for God sakes -- we aren't supposed to pay the cost of our dumb laws!
Update: Typical of the government, the e-Verify registration site is down right now.
Update #3: By the way, I guess I have never made my interest in this issue clear. We do not hire any illegal immigrants. Since most of our positions require employees to live on site in their own RV, it is seldom an issue since the average illegal immigrant does not own an RV. We have always done all of our I-9 homework, even though the government stopped auditing I-9's about 8 years ago. We have in fact been asked about five times by foreigners to hire them under the table without having the licenses and papers they need from the US government -- all of them have been Canadian.