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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Arizona Law Requiring E-Verify at Supreme Court

By Tommy Eden, Attorney
On December 8 in the case of Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, U.S., No. 09-115, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether federal law preempts an Arizona statute aimed at preventing the employment of illegal immigrants. Reading the oral argument transcript will give you insight into the Justices’ concerns.
In accordance with the Legal Arizona Workers Act, the State of Arizona can revoke the business licenses of employers that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Employers in the State of Arizona are required to use E-Verify, the federal government's free Internet-based program for verifying employment eligibility. The fear is that state and local governments would be able to impose a patchwork of conflicting enforcement regimes if the Arizona statue is allowed to stand. The State of Alabama is considering some type of immigration law change in the next legislative session. Waiting until the United States Supreme Court issues its decision in this case may save the State a lot of unnecessary litigation

Practical Counsel:
• Enroll in E-Verify at

• E-Verify is an employer’s only get out of jail card with Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE);

• Schedule I-9 Supervisor Training because the E-Verify system is only as good as the information collected on your I-9 forms;

• Put an E-Verify policy in your employee handbook; and

• Make sure you are using the latest version of Form 1-9.

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 334-246-2901. Blog at