U.S. employers challenge crackdown on illegal immigrants

Posted by SM Maulana

By Julia Preston – iHT

Under pressure from the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in two decades, employers across the United States are fighting back in state legislatures, U.S. courts and city halls.

Business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants. They are proposing alternatives that would revise U.S. rules for verifying the identity documents of new hires and would expand programs to bring in legal immigrant laborers.

Although the pushback is coming from both Democrats and Republicans, in many places it is reopening the rift over immigration that troubled the Republican Party last year. Businesses, generally Republican stalwarts, are standing up to others within the party who accuse them of undercutting border enforcement and jeopardizing U.S. jobs by hiring illegal immigrants as cheap labor.

Employers in Arizona were stung by a law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature that revokes the licenses of businesses caught twice with illegal immigrants. They won approval in this year’s session of a narrowing of that law making clear that it did not apply to workers hired before this year.

Last week, an Arizona employers’ group submitted more than 284,000 signatures – far more than needed – for a November ballot initiative that would make the 2007 law even friendlier to employers.

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