Employers Fight Curbs on Illegal Immigrants
According to The New York Times Media Group.
Under pressure from the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in two decades, employers across the United States are fighting back in state legislatures, U.S. courts and city halls.
Business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants. They are proposing alternatives that would revise U.S. rules for verifying the identity documents of new hires and would expand programs to bring in legal immigrant laborers.
Although the pushback is coming from both Democrats and Republicans, in many places it is reopening the rift over immigration that troubled the Republican Party last year. Businesses, generally Republican stalwarts, are standing up to others within the party who accuse them of undercutting border enforcement and jeopardizing U.S. jobs by hiring illegal immigrants as cheap labor.
Employers in Arizona were stung by a law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature that revokes the licenses of businesses caught twice with illegal immigrants. They won approval in this year's session of a narrowing of that law making clear that it did not apply to workers hired before this year.
Last week, an Arizona employers' group submitted more than 284,000 signatures -- far more than needed -- for a November ballot initiative that would make the 2007 law even friendlier to employers.
Also in recent months, immigration bills were defeated in Indiana and Kentucky - states where control of the legislatures is split between Democrats and Republicans - owing in part to warnings from business groups that the measures could hurt the economy.
In Oklahoma, chambers of commerce went to a U.S. court and last month won an order suspending sections of a 2007 state law that would require employers to use a national database to check the immigration status of new hires. In California, businesses have turned to elected officials, including the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, to lobby the U.S. immigration authorities against raiding long-established companies.
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