Whatever happens to Arizonas notorious SB 1070 in the courts, I believe the real problem with illegal immigration is that corporations continue to hire undocumented workers. (After all, why pay $10/hour to a US citizen, when you can hire an illegal for $6/hour or less? And the illegal wont complain about the hours, demand benefits or expect raises.)
To deal with this problem, the tough-talking AZ State Legislature passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007 which then-Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law. This law demands that all Arizona employers verify a prospective employees status before hiring. The penalty for hiring an undocumented worker is a fine for the first violation and the revocation of the companys business license for the second offense. Yet two and a half years after the law went into effect, The Arizona Republic states that only about half of new hires in Arizona have been vetted by a federal system that checks their status. And lest you government-haters start blaming Obama, the newspaper also found that only about a third of the state’s estimated 100,000 employers have signed up for the E-Verify program.
So where is Maricopa Countys Sheriff Joe, the so-called nations toughest sheriff when you need him? Hes big on arresting and deporting illegal workers. But, apparently, he could care less about the businesses that hire them. In Maricopa County (the county that encompasses most of the Phoenix metro), only two businesses have been sanctioned for hiring illegals. And none have lost their licenses. This despite Homeland Security estimates of more than 460,000 illegals living (and working) in the state.
So the magnet that draws illegals to Arizona is still in place.
But if, like me, youre thinking that preventing businesses from hiring undocumented workers would be more effective and less costly than building multi-billion dollar fences along the border, or maintaining a force of 10 border patrol agents per mile, Gov. Brewer and Senator McNasty would tell you thats Socialist thinking. Like most Republicans, they believe businesses should be unencumbered by regulations to feed their greed.