On Tuesday, New Jersey legislators joined the drumbeat, now heard nationwide, to impose penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. First-time offenders would face 10-day license suspensions and three to five years' probation. The second time around, business licenses would be revoked permanently.

The New Jersey legislation, like that in several other states, imposes more severe civil sanctions on employers than federal law, which imposes a graduated scale of monetary fines. Under the proposed law, if you knowingly hire an unauthorized alien in New Jersey, you could permanently lose your right to do business in that state.

The New Jersey bill—which would require employers to begin using the federal E-Verify Program on Jan. 1, 2009—mirrors an Arizona state law. A team of Ballard Spahr lawyers has been challenging the Arizona law on behalf of national, state and local business groups. Although the trial court upheld the law, the case is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and it will be decided on an expedited basis.

Similar laws in Oklahoma and Missouri also have withstood constitutional challenges in the trial courts. In July 2007, however, a similar law passed by Hazelton, Pa., was declared unconstitutional and invalidated by a federal district court in Scranton.  

Follow this link to a copy of the New Jersey bill, S-1312.  If you need assistance in deciding how it would affect you, give us a call. We will help you identify your options and assist with any follow-through that might be needed. Through our involvement on the national level, we understand the complex issues involved in this kind of legislation and have the legal resources to address them. 

Copyright © 2008 by Ballard Spahr LLP.
(No claim to original U.S. government material.)

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