Less than two years after the enactment of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (“LAWA”), Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Senate Bill 1070). The Act requires law enforcement officials to attempt to determine the immigration status of any person that they believe to be an alien unlawfully present in the United States. The Governor’s decision has thrust Arizona into the spotlight of immigration reform debate.
The controversial statute has attracted both national and international attention since the April 23 signing and has led to daily protests at the Arizona State Capitol in downtown Phoenix, as well as throughout the country. Several public figures have spoken out in opposition to the statute and there have been widespread calls to boycott Arizona businesses. Despite this, Arizona polls show widespread support for the bill among Arizona residents.
While opposition to the bill has focused largely on the new requirement imposed on law enforcement officials, Senate Bill 1070 has two provisions that will impact Arizona employers. The statute includes a provision prohibiting the hiring of day laborers. This same provision makes it a crime for unlawful aliens to “apply for work, solicit work in a public place or perform work as an employee or independent contractor in this state.” Senate Bill 1070 also adds a recordkeeping provision to LAWA that requires employers to maintain E-Verify verifications for each employee hired after January 1, 2008 for the duration of the employment or at least three years, whichever is longer. In addition, it adds a defense of entrapment for employers facing a claim that they either intentionally or knowingly hired an unauthorized alien.
Jackson Lewis will be closely monitoring developments relating to Senate Bill 1070 and the impact it will have on employers in Arizona and will be providing regular updates.