What's at Stake
(formerly Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria)
Whether an Arizona law imposing severe sanctions on employers who hire immigrants that the state believes are unauthorized to work in the United States, and requiring employers to participate in a federal employment verification program that the federal government made voluntary, is pre-empted by the carefully calibrated and comprehensive scheme that the federal government has enacted to regulate immigration.
As part of a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration laws, Congress adopted a series of carefully calibrated measures, beginning in the mid-1980s, to enforce the federal bar on hiring unauthorized immigrant workers while preserving the civil rights of immigrant and minority communities. Unsatisfied with these efforts, Arizona adopted its own law imposing far more severe sanctions on employers who hire workers that Arizona believes are unauthorized to work, and requiring employers to participate in a federal employment verification program that the federal government chose not to make mandatory. The ACLU represents civil rights groups that have joined with business and labor in this lawsuit contending that the Arizona statute is pre-empted by federal law and therefore unconstitutional.