E-Verify News: Arizona Supreme Court Decision on SB 1070


Emptech's founder, Jeff Aleixo


Jeff Aleixo


The recent Arizona Supreme Court decision on part of Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) in Arizona v. United States does not impact the portion of that legislation related to E-Verify, which was decided last year in a separate case heard before the Supreme Court, U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.

Arizona v. United States is not expected to have a significant impact on Arizona’s business community, since it does not call into question the decision in Whiting that a state could mandate all employers to use E-Verify, and that a state has authority to impose penalties including suspension or revocation of business licenses upon employers discovered to be employing unauthorized workers. Since it specifically declines to call the Whiting decision into question, other states with similar E-Verify or immigration laws can expect that their E-Verify piece will likely hold up, unlike most of the rest of it. Arizona also clarifies that 1986’s IRCA legislation is the guide for law enforcement regarding unauthorized workers.

Therefore, the recent Arizona Supreme Court decision on immigration law does not mean any change for employers in Arizona regarding E-Verify.

Impact of The Arizona Supreme Court Decision on Other States

The E-Verify mandate portion of the Mississippi Employment Protection Act is expected to survive challenges to other portions of the Act. State contractors in Mississippi should expect to adhere to a mandate to use E-Verify. Mississippi employers other than state contractors risk losing their business license if they employ an illegal worker and have not instituted E-Verify.

Similarly, the E-Verify portion of Alabama’s immigration law and the penalties imposed on employers that knowingly hire unauthorized workers will likely survive challenges to other portions of that law. The penalties may include temporary suspension of business licenses and permits, or permanent revocation of statewide business licenses for multiple violations. Violator employers will also be subject to additional reporting requirements for up to three years post-discovery of a violation. As in Mississippi, employers who do not voluntarily opt-in to E-Verify will lose their safe harbor protection with respect to hiring employees as opposed to employers who use E-Verify to confirm employment authorization.

Employers in Georgia also risk suspension or revocation of their business license if they fail to comply with their state’s E-Verify requirement. Georgia has a staggered implementation of their E-Verify mandate, based on company size. Effective July 1, 2012, Georgia employers with 100-500 employees were required to use E-Verify. Employers with 11-99 employees are required to use E-Verify by July 1st, 2013.

Find all necessary information about I-9 form and E-Verify and learn how to easily achieve compliance with employment eligibility requirements to maximize efficiency and minimize legal risk.

Pennsylvania as The First State in The Northeast to Pass E-Verify Legislation

Pennsylvania will require public works contractors and subcontractors, where the estimated cost of the construction project is at least $25,000, to use E-Verify. Penalties for violation include fines of $250-$1000, warnings, and debarment from working on public projects for a period between 30 days and 3 years. On July 5th, Governor Corbett signed the law into legislation, but it will not go into effect until January 1st, 2013.

Almost all Southeastern states require E-Verify of all or most employers, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Virginia and Florida require E-Verify only for public employers or contractors. In the Northeast, aside from Pennsylvania, the local municipality of Suffern Village in New York requires new contractors with the village to use E-Verify.

Currently, fewer than half of the states do not have an E-Verify requirement at all, and those states are spread across the Southwest, Northwest, Midwest, and South, with a solid block of E-Verify “resisters” in the Northeast.

E-Verify Update

Arizona was the first state to mandate that all employers use E-Verify beginning in 2008. As such, it is long considered a starting point in the fight against undocumented immigration. In addition to Arizona and other states mentioned in this article, E-Verify is required in California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and Utah.

Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 3711), legislation introduced in Congress in 2017, is intended to make E-Verify mandatory and permanent requirement for U.S. employers. This is in accordance with the current administration’s plan to use E-Verify to the fullest extent to reduce the number of undocumented workers and open up job opportunities for residents legally authorized to work in the U.S. Accordingly, mandatory nationwide use of E-Verify was included in the White House Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

Find out how you can prevent mistakes and heavy fines, and remain compliant with an electronic solution fully integrated with E-Verify.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.