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Federal appeals court denies injunction against Arizona immigration law

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld [order, PDF; ACLU press release] a district court's denial [JURIST report] of an emergency injunction to block enforcement of an Arizona law that penalizes employers who hire illegal immigrants while opponents of the law argue their case [ACLU materials] before the appellate court. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, filed a lawsuit and application for a temporary restraining order [PDF texts] against the Legal Arizona Workers Act [AZHB 2779 text, PDF; Arizona Republic backgrounder] in December 2007, alleging that the Act could either cause irreparable injury or undue hardship to state employers if allowed to operate during trial.

The Legal Arizona Workers Act, which went into effect on January 1, allows the Superior Courts of Arizona to suspend or revoke the business licenses of businesses that intentionally or knowingly employ illegal immigrants. Under the law, employers will be required to check the legal status of new hires using E-Verify [DHS backgrounder], a free online federal program that checks names and identification documents to determine employment eligibility. A district court upheld the law [JURIST report] earlier this month after having previously dismissed [PDF text; JURIST report] an earlier lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against the new law filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups. When Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the legislation [JURIST report] in July, she called the law "the most aggressive action in the country against employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers." AP has more.

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