In a last ditch effort to undermine Arizona’s mandatory E-Verify law for employers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business and open-border groups have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether Arizona’s law is preempted by federal law. The case (Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. of Am. v. Candelaria, U.S.) is an appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld Arizona’s law. The Supreme Court this week asked the U.S. Solicitor General for an opinion on the preemption question.
Take a look at the list of petitioners to overturn the E-Verify law. Many of them are organizations that represent businesses known to make use of illegal-alien labor as well as others that advocate on behalf of illegal aliens.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Contractors Association
Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform
Arizona Farm Bureau Federation
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Landscape Contractors Association
Arizona Restaurant and Hospitality Association
Arizona Roofing Contractors Association
National Roofing Contractors Association
Chicanos Por La Causa
Valle Del Sol, Inc.
Petitioners are being represented in the Court by other organizations that have consistently fought state and local enforcement efforts, including:
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Immigration Law Center
Plus more support has been provided in the form of amicus briefs filed by groups like:
Service Employees International Union
National Employment Law Project
Asian American Justice Center
Petitioners in their brief to the Court argue that the case involves "a question of exceptional national importance: whether state legislatures and municipal governments may override Congress's judgment concerning United States immigration policy." They say that the Supreme Court must take up the case now because the "crazy-quilt of state and local immigration statutes will continue to expand, multiplying burdens on employers and unfairness to employees" and result in a "flood of lawsuits, years of litigation, and an unnecessary waste of judicial, legislative, and executive resources."
The petitioners also argue the case should be heard because lower court decisions on the preemption issue have been inconsistent. The Ninth Circuit held that Arizona’s statute was not preempted by federal immigration law, and a similar decision was reached in by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning a Valley Park, Missouri ordinance. However, a District Court in Pennsylvania held that Hazleton, Pennsylvania ordinance was preempted and an Oklahoma district court granted a preliminary injunction against a state law.
Defending its law, Arizona filed a brief with the Court arguing that the decisions were not inconsistent because the lower courts correctly addressed the narrow issues presented in the cases before them. The State also argued that Arizona law does not impose new obligations on employers beyond those already existing in federal law; it "merely establishes state sanctions for that illegal conduct, as Congress specifically permits states to do."
It will be interesting to see how the Obama Administration, as represented by the Solicitor General, weighs in. The Administration has often stated its interest in amnesty for illegal aliens, and said that enforcement is necessary so that the problem does not return. A number of states have stepped up to the plate to help enforce immigration laws. Will the Administration support their efforts or give in to latest ploy by business and other open-border groups to undermine them? Time will tell, but this case is one to watch because a lot of strong state and local enforcement laws could be affirmed or undercut
VAN ESSER is the Chief of Membership Services for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Nov 9th 2009 @ 7:37am EST