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U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Issue of Employment of Non-Citizens

With its October session already underway, the Supreme Court has decided to provide the clarity and uniformity that the problem of hiring unauthorized aliens requires. It has granted the petition for certiorari in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting on the grounds that it concerns a question of exceptional national importance; and because the state disregarded the court’s precedent established in a previous case, misinterpreting federal law as expressed in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

The petitioners were adamant to point out in their brief that several states and municipalities around the country have acted on a broad construction of federal immigration policy; often enforcing their own provisions, or enacting new ones. Consequently, the pace of state and local immigration legislation continues to grow, resulting in a split of authority that preempts the supremacy of federal law. If these haphazard immigration policies were permitted to go forward, the collateral effects would be felt by employers and employees, states and localities, as well as the lower courts for years to come. That is why, at this critical juncture, the Supreme Court must send a clear message that states are not allowed to usurp the federal government’s power. While our federal immigration system may be in dire need of reform, creating a patchwork of state laws attempting to regulate immigration is not the solution.

In other words, by deciding to review this particular case, the Supreme Court has decided to take an affirmative stand to clarify the requirements for employing undocumented individuals. As we have seen recently with Arizona deciding to create their own self-serving immigration policies, several states have been taking matters into their own hands, despite the fact that they are not legally capable of doing so. The Supreme Court will use its authority to put an end to this, and to clarify the standards for all states to follow.

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