LATINO VOICES

Arizona E-Verify Law Proves Ineffective With Less Than Half Of Businesses Complying

12/31/2012 09:51 am ET

Unsuccessful GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have thought Arizona’s E-Verify law was a model for the nation, but the state’s businesses don’t seem to like it.

After five years on the books and a favorable decision on its constitutionality from the Supreme Court, less than half of Arizona’s businesses are complying with a state law requiring them to screen all new hires using the federal database known as E-Verify, Cronkite News Service reports.

While the figures indicate a low compliance rate, participation has risen in recent years. Some 43 percent of the state’s businesses have signed on to E-Verify, as required under the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008. That figure marks an increase from 2010, when about one-third of businesses had registered for E-Verify, according to the Arizona Republic.

Small businesses are the least likely to run checks on applicants, with only 19 percent having registered, according to the Yuma Sun.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who served as Romney’s immigration adviser during the 2012 presidential campaign, helped write Arizona’s E-Verify law, according to Yahoo News. During a GOP primary debate in Mesa, Arizona, in February, Romney called the law a model for the country.

“You know, I think you see a model in Arizona,” Romney said during the debate. “They passed a law here that says -- that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on E-Verify.

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