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Arizona takes immigration enforcement into its own hands again

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 5, 2007 10:03 AM

Update: La Shawn Barber writes in today’s Washington Examiner–“Now that amnesty is dead, locals must act against employers.”

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Take that, John McCain:

Beginning in January, employers in Arizona could face having their business licenses suspended or revoked if they get caught hiring illegal immigrants.

A new law signed Monday by Gov. Janet Napolitano created the state crime of hiring illegal immigrants and requires all businesses to verify the employment eligibility of workers through a federal database.

It’s intended to remove the economic incentive for immigrants to sneak across the border and help lessen Arizona’s role as the busiest illegal gateway into the nation.
The Democratic governor said she signed the bill because the federal government has failed to overhaul the country’s broken immigration policies, though she believes the new law contains flaws that should be fixed.

“I signed it, too, out of the realization that the flow of illegal immigration into our state is due to the constant demand of some employers for cheap, undocumented labor,” Napolitano wrote in a letter to lawmakers…

…Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, who proposed the new law, said it will provide the state with huge savings because Arizona will have to pay fewer health care and education costs for illegal immigrants and their families.
“If there are no jobs, they will go home,” Pearce said.

Employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants could face a business license suspension lasting up to 10 days. They also would face a three-year probationary period during which they would be required to report new hires to prosecutors.

Businesses that take steps to get around the ban would have gotten a mandatory 10-day license suspension and five years of probation.

Second-time violators would have their business licenses revoked permanently.
The proposal would give a measure of legal protection to employers who can prove they have verified the eligibility of workers through a federal records database.

Pearce was also a driving force behind the successful Proposition 200 in Arizona, which banned social services for illegal aliens and required proof of citizenship at the voting booth. What the feds are failing to do, cities and states are stepping in to do. It’s a damning indictment of Washington, isn’t it?

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Mulling over the political gamesmanship, AllahPundit asks: “Should we read any trends into the fact that Napolitano, a Democrat, feels obliged to crack down here on immigration or is this just another fluke from the state that put two Republicans in the Senate only to have them take the lead on shamnesty?”

My own two cents: The move shows the growing influence of Pearce and the immigration enforcement wing of the AZ GOP. If, as Bryan Preston says, the AZ GOP is a national microcosm of the national GOP, this is a good trend.