The Senate State Affairs Committee has declined to introduce a bill this morning that would have sought to impose an Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration effort that would penalize employers who hire illegal workers. “The reality is that this law has passed in Arizona and has gone to court and was upheld,” Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, told the committee, after several members raised legal questions about the bill. “Whether or not this can happen in Idaho is yet to be seen.” Jorgenson asked the panel to just introduce his bill, and not proceed any further with it this year. But no committee member was willing to make a motion to introduce it. “The RS will die for lack of a motion,” said Chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa.
Senate President Pro-tem Bob Geddes said, “I fear that the employers of this state just don’t have the wherewithal to determine if documents are valid or are forged or whatever. … Are we holding them to a standard that’s just virtually impossible to comply with?” Jorgenson responded, “I don’t think so,” and said the bill would exempt employers from federal reprisal if they’d taken certain steps to verify workers’ immigration status. However, he told the committee that the bill contained state misdemeanor penalties and could endanger business licenses for violators.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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