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Lawmaker floats immigration reform plan

(Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)
Sen. Bill Brotherton and Attorney General Terry Goddard explain legislation Wednesday that would require employers to check the legal status of job applicants or face $5,000 fines.

By Howard Fischer

Ph – Bill Brotherton said many bills introduced by his colleagues are designed to punish those who cross the border illegally, many in search of work. But Brotherton said that's only part of the problem.

(As we all know, this is a supply and demand problem. It's a situation where you have folks who are looking for work and need work to support their families, coming up here and finding work with willing citizens who have companies and who are willing to employ them.)

Brotherton's legislation would require every employer to use one of the services available through the federal government that allows companies to verify that the job applicant and that person's proferred social security number are, in fact, valid. Violators would be subject to fines of up to $5,000. The measure is opposed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Farrell Quinlan said an online verification
system being run as a pilot project by the Department of Homeland Security can't handle the load.

(If these federal programs are incapable of servicing the rush of Arizona applications to it, then yes, the way the bill is written you would not be able to hire any employees until you get the OK from one of these systems.)

The fight will be played out if and when Brotherton's measure gets a hearing. In Phoenix, for Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.