The Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) became effective on January 1, 2008. LAWA requires all Arizona employers to verify the legal status of every new employee hired through the E-Verify program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and calls for business license revocation for employers that knowingly or intentionally employ an unauthorized alien. Over 35,000 Arizona employers now participate in the E-Verify program.

This month, the first business was penalized under LAWA. Numerous media reports indicate that a sandwich shop in west Phoenix settled the case by agreeing with the Maricopa County Attorney to close the shop for two days and remain on probation for three years. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials had previously advised the employer that a particular employee was illegal. However, the employer later allegedly allowed the same worker to use fake identification when it rehired the individual. ICE investigated and later arrested the employee and fined the employer. The Maricopa County Attorney’s office was notified and the resulting negotiations ended in the settlement.

For additional information on LAWA and legal challenges to the law, see the September 18, 2008 issue of the Arizona eAuthority and the Maricopa County Attorney’s LAWA site.

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Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the United States and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees.

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