Alabama has suddenly become the leader in comprehensive immigration reform, passing up Arizona whose laws have had so much news coverage. Passed by large margins in the Alabama State Legislature, this new law covers most areas of abuses by illegal aliens. Like the Arizona law recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama's law requires employers to verify the legal status of their employees by using the federal government's E-Verify program. That Arizona law was signed by then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, who is now director of the Department of Homeland Security.
E-Verify was created by the federal government for voluntary use. It can now be made mandatory by state law. E-Verify instantly checks workers' Social Security numbers to make sure they are eligible to work, and is so easy and inexpensive for employers to use that more than 99% of lawful workers receive positive verification within seconds.
Opponents of the Arizona law that made E-Verify mandatory tried to get supremacist judges to knock it out on the argument that it was preempted by federal law. They lost bigtime when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Arizona law is okay as a business license statute, which is an ordinary power of the states and expressly allowed by federal immigration law. The employer doesn't commit a crime if he fails to use E-Verify, but he could lose his business license, which the state government has the authority to revoke. This law also bars businesses from taking state tax deductions on wages paid to illegal aliens.
Three other states also make E-Verify mandatory. A half-dozen others require the use of E-Verify for state employees or contractors. The Alabama law has many more helpful provisions, and I'll tell you about those tomorrow.
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Further reading: Immigration