Just so you know, I'm an Arizona Republican so this is a rant against my own party.
Recently the legislature passed a "comprehensive immigration reform" bill (HB2577). Governor Napolitano vetoed it. Of course the party faithful lined up to say how horrible and evil the governor is because she vetoed such a wonderful cure-all bill. Well, I got a little curious and actually went and read the governor's letter explaining why she vetoed the bill. While I disagreed with most of the reasons she gave, one of the reasons surprised me and actually got me to read the bill itself. What I found disturbed me.
As I've previously mentioned in my blogs about immigration, we are in a supply and demand cycle of illegal immigration. That is, as long as there is a demand for illegal workers, the supply will come. That's how capitalism works. Well, while HB2577 had a lot of good provisions for combating the supply of illegal immigrants, it actually seemed to protect the demand. In my opinion, this is counter productive.
This provision for employers went a little like this:
1) The employer KNOWINGLY hires an illegal immigrant and then gets caught (knowingly seems to be defined as paying less than minimum wage and/or accepting a foriegn consulate card as ID).
2) The employer has 10 days to fire the illegal immigrant and notify immigration
3) If the employer decides to appeal or contest the order, it is suspended until the appeal is heard in court.
4) Upon losing the appeal, the employer has another 10 days to comply with the order.
5) If the employer still doesn't comply, the court may levy a fine of up to $5,000 and/or revoke the employer's business license for 2 years.
Is it just me or is this telling businesses that it's OK to hire illegal immigrants as long as you fire them if you get caught? What if you unknowingly hire an illegal immigrant? Are there any penalties or requirements? Are there any punishments for repeat offenders? Well the answer to that is no. No matter how many times you're caught, you still have 10 days to fire the illegal.
It's possible that I misunderstood the law but, barring that, if I were governor, I'd veto it as well. If a business KNOWINGLY hires an illegal, they should be immediately fined and possibly have their business license revoked. The illegal immigrant should be immediately turned over to immigration. This is common sense. If businesses are afraid to hire illegals, they won't. If they don't, illegals won't be able to find work. If they can't find work, they won't come over the border. It's pretty simple logic. Why is it that the Arizona Republican Congress doesn't get it? It's frustrating.