June is always a busy month at the Supreme Court. The court
issues its most controversial rulings at the end of its term in
June. For two consecutive years now, the court has issued major
rulings on Arizona immigration laws.Last
year, we reported to you on the ruling in Chamber of Commerce v.
Whiting, upholding Arizona's law sanctioning employers for
hiring unauthorized aliens. See
Legal News: Employment Law Update, June 6, 2011. In that
decision, the court ruled that the federal Immigration Reform and
Control Act did not preempt the Arizona law allowing Arizona courts
to suspend or revoke the business licenses of employers that
knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens.
On June 25, 2012, the court ruled in Arizona
v. United States on the federal government's broad
constitutional powers when it comes to immigration. In its ruling,
the court held that the federal government's power to regulate
immigration trumped three of four sections of Arizona law that had
been blocked by a lower federal court of appeals. Unlike the ruling
in June 2011, which directly impacted employers, this year's
ruling has more of an indirect effect on employers: It means that
immigration laws that have gained traction at the state level may
be soon struck down, and it also means that if your state does not
already have such laws, they may not be passed there. For
employers, the good news is that states are now unlikely to
continue to pass a patchwork of different kinds of immigration laws
that would require employers with employees in various states to
tailor compliance efforts on a state-by-state basis. Federal
preemption of immigration will help employers to maintain a uniform
national policy in this area, much as federal preemption of
employee benefits, in the form of ERISA,
helps employers maintain a uniform national policy in that
June is now over, but stay tuned next year for more big Supreme
Court rulings that will affect your labor and employment law
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On March 8, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, bearing an edition date of March 8, 2013, for immediate use by employers.
A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, an 844-page bill that aims to bolster border security and seeks to provide some of the nation's 11 million undocumented people with a path to citizenship.