November 4, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today Missouri is leading a group of 13 states that filed an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief asking the United States Supreme Court to uphold Arizona's immigration law.
Koster said that the challenge to the Arizona immigration law before the Supreme Court could severely limit, or eliminate, the authority of Arizona and other states, including Missouri, to enforce licensing sanctions against businesses that employ illegal aliens. Missouri law includes sanctions for employing undocumented workers.
"States all over the country are experiencing an increase in the number of illegals looking for work or sanctuary," Koster said. "One of the ways Missouri and other states have addressed the problem is to enact laws prohibiting employers from hiring illegal aliens. These laws are important to protecting our citizens, and they serve as a complement to existing federal laws."
The Attorney General's brief points out that states have a traditional sovereign authority to license and regulate businesses and professions - an authority Congress recognized in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) - and to revoke the licenses of those who violate state or federal law. Therefore, the states are within their rights to pass and enforce such laws.
Koster said Missouri has been a leader in passing tough immigration laws. Under Missouri law, businesses that employ illegal aliens are subject to suspension of their licenses or permits; municipalities are prohibited from adopting policies giving sanctuary to illegals; illegal immigrants are prohibited from getting a Missouri driver's license, nor will a driver's license from another state be valid in Missouri; and law enforcement must verify the legal immigration status of anyone they arrest.
The other states that joined Missouri in filing the brief are Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia.