Arizona has recently passed one of the harshest anti-immigration bills in America’s modern history. While the bill is obviously aimed at those persons who have entered the United States from Mexico without inspection, the effects of this bill will be felt in all immigrant communities. The law gives state and local officers the authority to arrest and detain any person in violation of federal immigration law as well as proscribing punishments for those who aid immigration law violators. Those persons who are present in the United States on valid employment-based visas, such as H-1B, L-1 and H-2A, as well as those persons who are eligible or have applied for a Green Card or Legal Permanent Residency through the PERM process or family-based petition, now must be extra careful to remain in valid immigration status at all times and above all else always carry their “papers” on them. Just as the tide raises all boats, Arizona’s law will affect all immigrants and their employers within that state
On the heels of Arizona’s new law, certain Ohio senators have begun the process of drafting copycat legislation. The consequences of such legislation for Ohio business if such legislation were to be passed could be very grave. A bill that damages the confidence of Ohio’s vital, skilled and hardworking immigrant population in the state’s openness and welcome for immigrants, in general, would do unnecessary harm to Ohio’s already recession-weakened economy. Before Ohioans jump on the anti-immigration bandwagon, perhaps they should instigate the wording of Arizona’s legislation and its potential to harm Ohio’s economy.Ohio Should not Burden Businesses With the Requirement to Investigate all Contractors and Subcontractors for Services
Arizona’s law makes it a crime to knowingly or intentionally employ an unauthorized immigrant. Furthermore, Arizona’s law makes it illegal to contract with a person who intentionally or knowingly employs an unauthorized immigrant to perform work for the contacting person. If read literally, Arizona’s law would make it a crime to contract with any person or business that has hired an unauthorized worker. As a precaution, businesses would be required to investigate the immigration status of all of their business contact’s employees. For the large and medium-sized corporations that call Ohio home, such a law would create an unreasonable financial burden and untenable risk of criminal prosecution. There are plenty of other states that would be happy to siphon off the business of Ohio’s corporations with the lure of a decreased risk in liability.Ohio’s Immigrants Make Ohio Stronger
Ohio is home to one of the most diverse and most representative cross sections of business, industry, agriculture, research, and government as can be found in the United States as a whole. Ohio’s many colleges hire the best and brightest people in the world to teach and carry out research. Ohio’s businesses rely on skilled workers in engineering and technology to fill positions where not enough American citizens can be found to fill demand. Finally, Ohio’s agriculture relies on the labor of H-2A non-immigrants to carry out some of the toughest jobs on the farms and in the fields. Ohio needs to attract immigrants in order to fill vital jobs that make Ohio’s economy strong. Why would we want to injure or insult our immigrant population by requiring them to carry “papers” like in some dictatorial third world country? Again, there are plenty of other states and countries that would love to attract skilled and hard-working immigrants to carry out the jobs that are vital to the economy.Conclusion
Employers from all sectors need to know that Arizona’s legislation is not the answer to Ohio’s needs for immigration reform. The legal burdens imposed by Arizona type legislation are unclear but potentially extremely onerous. Arizona businesses are no longer dealing with a fine as the cost of doing business with unauthorized workers. Businesses and those accountable within business now face criminal prosecution under the law.
As the calls for immigration reform grow stronger, the chance that immigration reform becomes law will increase. When change comes, employers will be in vital need of experienced immigration counsel to provide advice on the changing immigration rules at the local, state and federal level. If you have questions about an immigration visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.