Members of Scottsdale’s business community got a look Friday at a new state law aimed at preventing employers from hiring illegal immigrants that some called a “business death penalty.”
About 80 people attended the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce panel discussion on the potential effects of the Fair and Legal Employment Act, which is to take effect Jan. 1.
“This was a very, very contentious issue of the last couple of years at the Arizona State Capitol,” said forum moderator Tom Dorn, of the Dorn Policy Group.
The new law requires the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, or county attorneys, to investigate complaints of employers that may have knowingly hired illegal immigrants.
A first offense could mean a suspended business license for employers and the termination of employment for any illegal immigrants.
A second offense could mean the permanent revocation of the business’s licenses.
Panel member Gregg Tucek, a lawyer with the firm Sherman & Howard, likened the permanent revocation to a death penalty for businesses that hire illegal immigrants.
“You lose your license. You’re done. You’re out of business in Arizona,” he said.
Tucek said there are some gray areas in the law, such as whether a business with multiple locations could be shut down because of violations at one location.
“We need to look at it. We need to understand it,” he said.
Panelist Susan Williams, president and founder of HR Choice, said federal I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms, which all U.S. businesses are required to complete on each employee, will take on added significance under the new law.
The forms will be an important piece of information if the immigration status of an employee is called into question, she said.
The Tribune was among the forum’s sponsors.