Arizona continues to be the epicenter of state immigration law activity. Arizona was the first state to mandate use of the federal government’s mostly voluntary E-Verify system with the introduction of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) in 2008. As reported in the January 2011 issue of the Immigration eAuthority, the lawsuit seeking to invalidate LAWA is now being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, LAWA remains the law of Arizona and employers are required to enroll in E-Verify or face possible sanctions.
Arizona’s other controversial law, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (also known as Senate Bill 1070), was signed into law on April 23, 2010 and would compel law enforcement officers to verify the legal status of persons reasonably believed to be illegally present in the country. SB 1070’s constitutionality has been challenged in multiple lawsuits, including one brought by the federal government (see the July 2010 issue of the Immigration eAuthority). Arizona has now fired back, filing a countersuit that accuses the federal government of failing to secure the border and seeks compensation for Arizona’s costs in detaining illegal immigrants, who comprise 14 percent of its prison population. Until Arizona’s claims and the underlying lawsuit are finally resolved, the court injunction issued in July of last year prevents enforcement of the law’s most controversial features. Arizona’s legislature may not be done with immigration just yet, with a new proposal (SB 1611) being considered that would limit illegal alien access to drivers licenses, auto titles, all licenses (e.g., marriage) and public education.