Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New immigration law

Arizona became the first state to pass an immigration law after the collapse of the Senate bill. It penalizes businesses that hire undocumented immigrants, and has so many problems that the governor requested a special session to fix it before the law goes into effect January 1. For example, as currently written, the law would shut down hospitals.

Other parts, however, are not so easily addressed. In particular, the bill does not have enough money for enforcement. Instead, the governor is requesting that Congress put more funding into “Basic Pilot,” the database for employers to check the status of potential employees, currently being used by 5,000-10,000 employers nationwide. Arizona alone would have 130,000-150,000 business that would need to access it very soon.

Arizona is therefore arguing that it has the right to make immigration policy, but does not have the obligation to pay for it. I guarantee that a lawsuit is being drafted right now. Since Congress decided to pass on immigration, the judicial system will have to step in. We could end up with a situation where Congress chooses to do nothing and state/local governments are told they can do nothing. And nobody really wants to pay for it.


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