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Sanctions law upheld by federal court

A federal judge has upheld Arizona’s employer sanctions law, saying it does not violate the constitutional rights of businesses or employees.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake said the sanctions law does not intrude on the federal government’s power to regulate immigration, one of the key components of the argument a dozen business groups had against the law.

Nor, Wake wrote, does the sanctions law conflict with what Congress intended when it passed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which expressly says states can punish businesses for hiring illegal immigrants through that state’s licensing process.

A spokesman for House Speaker Jim Weiers said the west Phoenix Republican was happy with the decision.

“He couldn’t be more pleased that Judge Wake upheld the law,” Barrett Marson said. “He always knew the law would be upheld.”

Rep. Russell Pearce, the architect of the legislation, said he was “ecstatic” with the ruling, though he always anticipated the courts would uphold the law.

“Basically, he said the bill’s good. It’s constitutional, it’s in harmony with what Congress intended,” he said.

Attorneys for the business groups did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the ruling.

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