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Federal judge upholds Arizona immigration law

[JURIST] A federal judge on Thursday dismissed [PDF text] a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] filed by business groups challenging the Legal Arizona Workers Act [AZHB 2779 text, PDF; Arizona Republic backgrounder], saying that the law does not overstep the federal government's authority to regulate immigration. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed [JURIST report] the lawsuit in December. Last month, prosecutors agreed to delay prosecutions [JURIST report] under the law until US District Court Judge Neil V. Wake was able to consider the case.

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. Wake dismissed [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] an earlier lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against the new law filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups, holding that that suit was premature because the law had not gone into effect and no one had been harmed. 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. The Arizona Republic has local coverage.

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