News & Resources

Is the immigration ruling a death sentence for agricultural employers?

Jun 02, 2011 Matt Roesly

In a 5-3 ruling last week, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona's 2007 law that requires all state employers to use the federal background screening software E-Verify to determine employment eligibility in the U.S. The National Review points out that this decision may lead to E-Verify becoming a national standard for employment screening. In Arizona, employers face harsh penalties for hiring illegal immigrants, revoking and suspending state and local business licenses for owners that fail to abide by the ruling. From 2008 to 2009, the illegal alien population fell 7 percent nationwide, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, the number of illegals in Arizona fell by nearly 18 percent over that time period. In These Times Magazine adds that E-Verify does have its flaws. In the past, it has flagged legal and native-born residents as undocumented. Plus, agricultural employers will have a hard time recovering from the ruling, since the majority of their most reliable workers may be illegal. Very few U.S. citizens express interest in agricultural jobs, as they typically entail spending long hours laboring in the hot sun.