I suggested states would take a greater role in immigration reform in my “The Aftermath of S 1639 (Amnesty)” post. Arizona moved quicker than I expected to take on the issue after the amnesty bill failed.
Yesterday, the (Democrat) Governor of Arizona signed legislation dealing with illegal immigrants and identity theft. From the Governor’s Press Release (pdf):
In a written statement accompanying House Bill 2779, the Governor said she took the tandem action because Congress has failed miserably. She wrote, “Immigration is a federal responsibility, but I signed HB 2779 because it is now abundantly clear that Congress finds itself incapable of coping with the comprehensive immigration reforms our country needs. I signed it, too, out of the realization that the flow of illegal immigration into our state is due to the constant demand of some employers for cheap, undocumented labor.”
House Bill 2779 takes the most aggressive action in the country against employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers. The new law requires employers to verify that the people they employ are present in the country legally; knowing or intentional failure to do so will cause the employer’s business licenses to be suspended. A second offense can result in the “business death penalty” – permanent revocation of an employer’s licenses to do business in Arizona.
Today, the Governor also signed Senate Bill 1265 and House Bill 2467. SB 1265 deals with bail for illegal immigrants. Under the law, courts must deny bail to those charged with a felony and who are believed to be in the country illegally. This bill conforms Arizona law more closely to federal law, and aligns with the intent of Proposition 100 passed by voters last year.
HB 2467 requires individuals to show documentation of legal citizenship to receive state services, per the provisions of Proposition 200, which was approved by voters in 2004.
Along with signing 2779, the Governor also sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In it, she asks for improvements to the ‘Basic Pilot’ program – the federal database used to verify legal status.
The Governor has directed Leesa Morrison, Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security, and Roger Vanderpool, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, to intensify efforts related to intercept fraudulent documents used in the business of illegal immigration, and to conduct training with businesses to aid them in detecting fraudulent documents.