Latest Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration Likely to Have Positive Effects for Employers

02 July 2012 Labor & Employment Law Perspectives Blog

June is always a busy month at the Supreme Court. The court issues its most controversial rulings at the end of its term in June. For two consecutive years now, the court has issued major rulings on Arizona immigration laws.Last year, we reported to you on the ruling in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, upholding Arizona’s law sanctioning employers for hiring unauthorized aliens. See Legal News: Employment Law Update, June 6, 2011. In that decision, the court ruled that the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act did not preempt the Arizona law allowing Arizona courts to suspend or revoke the business licenses of employers that knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens.

On June 25, 2012, the court ruled in Arizona v. United States on the federal government’s broad constitutional powers when it comes to immigration. In its ruling, the court held that the federal government’s power to regulate immigration trumped three of four sections of Arizona law that had been blocked by a lower federal court of appeals. Unlike the ruling in June 2011, which directly impacted employers, this year’s ruling has more of an indirect effect on employers: It means that immigration laws that have gained traction at the state level may be soon struck down, and it also means that if your state does not already have such laws, they may not be passed there. For employers, the good news is that states are now unlikely to continue to pass a patchwork of different kinds of immigration laws that would require employers with employees in various states to tailor compliance efforts on a state-by-state basis. Federal preemption of immigration will help employers to maintain a uniform national policy in this area, much as federal preemption of employee benefits, in the form of ERISA, helps employers maintain a uniform national policy in that area.

June is now over, but stay tuned next year for more big Supreme Court rulings that will affect your labor and employment law compliance.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Insights