Monday, July 2, 2007

Arizona Update: Today, Gov. Napolitano (D) signed HB 2779, which would penalize the employers of "illegal aliens." She also signed SB 1265, which would change the burden of proof needed to hold an "illegal immigrant" accused of certain felonies without bail. She is also increasing pressure on a federal level. Regarding HB 2779, she wrote a letter to ICE asking the agency to notify Arizona officials if the agency comes across businesses hiring illegally. She has also written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), asking for an expansion of the current Basic Pilot Program (for checking the legal status of new hires), which presently covers 15,000 businesses nationwide; the new Arizona law, which mandates participation in this program, will add another 130,000-150,000 businesses to this program. She also calls upon Reid and Pelosi to try to push some version of "comprehensive immigration reform."
While Gov. Napolitano says she's unhappy with some parts of HB 2779 (she lists some reservations here), she signed this measure because she felt that "states like Arizona have no choice but to take strong action to discourage the further flow of illegal immigration through our borders." She said that she is willing to call a special session of the state legislature in order to fix some of (what she takes to be) the flaws of this bill.
UPDATE: KVOA has a roundup of some of the provisions included in HB 2779:
_ It prohibits employers from knowingly or intentionally hiring illegal immigrants and requires businesses to use a federal database to check the employment eligibility of workers.
_ Employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants could face a business license suspension lasting up to 10 days. They also would face a three-year probationary period during which they would be required to report new hires to prosecutors. Businesses that take steps to get around the ban would face a mandatory 10-day license suspension and five years of probation. Second-time violators would have their business licenses revoked permanently.
_ It requires the state's attorney general or county attorneys to investigate complaints of alleged illegal hirings. If complaints are determined not to be frivolous, county attorneys would be required to take action against offenders. Prosecutors also would have to report the illegal immigrant workers to federal and local law enforcement agencies.
_ It provides a measure of legal protection for employers who can prove they verified the eligibility of their workers through the database of government records.
_ It provides $2.5 million for enforcing the new rules and takes effect on Jan. 1.
_ People who steal the identities of others for the purpose of getting a job would be subject to the state's aggravated identity theft law.