Prop 202: Proposition changes the employee sanctions law

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Both sides speak out on proposition

PHOENIX - Over the last few weeks, we've been taking a closer look at the eight propositions on the ballot.

Proposition 202 is one of those which addresses a very hot topic in this state, illegal immigration.

Arizona currently has an employer sanctions law in place to stop illegal immigrants from working here, but Proposition 202 could make some major changes.

Supporters of Proposition 202 say it would punish the "person" who knowingly hires an illegal immigrant-- instead of the entire business.

However, those opposed to the proposition say it is about so much more than that.

Supporters of Proposition 202 known as the stop illegal hiring act say our illegal immigration situation is out of control and it needs some attention, quickly.

Andrew Pacheco, chairman for the campaign, said the current employee sanctions law isn't doing enough and it's time for a change.

"Proposition 202 is a tough, fair and enforceable law that will give law enforcement the tools they need to attack the problems associated with illegal immigration, while still protecting innocent jobs," he said.

Under the current law entire companies are held accountable when illegal immigrants are knowingly hired for work.

Employers found with unauthorized workers could have their business licenses suspended for up to 10 days and be put on probation.

A second offense could lead to a revocation of a business license.

Under Proposition 202 an entire business would be closed only if an employer made the hire themselves. If the employer has actual knowledge a worker is an illegal immigrant or if the employer fails to fill out the federally required I-9 form.

But Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said that isn't all it would do.

"It appears to make federal action required before states can take action, which is also a step back," Thomas said. "It disallows the use of anonymous complaints, that is very troubling."

Thomas also says it would make prosecution of current cases being investigated under the employer sanctions law more difficult.

"The bottom line is its going to, in my judgement, bring our employer sanctions cases, whatever ones we might eventually be able to file, to an end because these requirements are going to gut the law," Thomas said.

Supporters of the new initiative point out since the current law was passed last year there have been no prosecutions of alleged offenders.

Both sides agree on one thing however, no matter what happens on election day, the debate over illegal immigration won't end anytime soon here in Arizona.