Home / Opinion / Commentary / Law is tough, but employer sanctions won’t hurt honest businesses

Law is tough, but employer sanctions won’t hurt honest businesses

The politics of fear are hard at work. People opposed to the state’s new employer sanctions law are spreading misinformation and confusing the public about the bill. This is despite the fact that H2779, known as the Fair and Legal Employment Act, received bi-partisan majorities in both houses of the Legislature and was signed by the governor.
Beginning Jan. 1, the new law will clamp down on employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens, potentially losing their license to do business in the state of Arizona.
First and foremost, no Arizona business will lose its license simply for making innocent mistakes. It can’t happen, period. 
This law is tough. But it is also fair to honest businesses interested in following the law. Lawful businesses that don’t knowingly hire illegals have nothing to be concerned about with this law. In fact, they should be pleased that the playing field will now be level. 
However, for a business that is hiring illegal immigrants and knows it is doing so, watch out. 
With the federal government neglecting its responsibilities, Arizona has stepped in to enforce laws that the federal government has decided to ignore.
The law calls for all businesses to use the federal Basic Pilot Program database. This is a service the government provides free of charge to businesses. Any business can sign up and verify new employees through a secure Internet connection. Hundreds of Arizona businesses, like the Salt River Project, are using it now. The Basic Pilot program matches a person with the Social Security number and determines the person’s eligibility to work in the country.
It takes little time or effort to run new employees through the program. Queries come back within five seconds, with most giving the business the OK to employ the person — 92 percent in fact. For those that show a problem, the employee is given eight days to straighten out the discrepancy.
Using the Basic Pilot Program provides businesses an insurance policy. The law states that so long as the business uses the program correctly, a judge must presume that the business did not have any knowledge that the employee was an illegal immigrant. 
In the long term, businesses will not be fleeing the state, as some have threatened. New businesses continue to move here and expand in Arizona. Recently, medical and technology products producer W.L. Gore decided to expand in the northwest Valley, adding 800 jobs to the area. Our fledgling bioscience industries continue to grow and prosper. It was recently announced by a national real-estate information service that the greater Phoenix area has more retail space under construction than anywhere else in the country.
As a former head of the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce, I am familiar with the rigors of running a business, both large and small. I have been a tireless cheerleader for business throughout the years and I am proud to continue that work at the Legislature. I would not look to impose undue burdens on the business community. I supported the law with this in mind and am convinced that this law is in the best interests of the citizens of our state.
Rep. John McComish is a Republican who represents District 20.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Scroll To Top