Alabama Passes Tough New Immigration Law

by Blake Forrester July 13, 2011

Recently, the state of Alabama passed its own immigration law, which some are calling one of the toughest laws in the country. The law easily passed through the Alabama legislature, following a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld Arizona’s law to impose sanctions against businesses that hire undocumented workers. The Legal Worker’s Act of 2007 requires a loss of business license and fines for companies that violate the law.

The new immigration law in Alabama also requires businesses to use the E-Verify system, also known as the I-9 system, to verify that job applicants can legally work in the U.S. Additionally, the law also states that transporting or harboring an illegal immigrant is a crime. Similar to the Arizona law passed in 2010,law enforcement personal are able to ask for documentation if they suspect a person is not of  legal status.

Opponents of the E-Verify system point out the challenging position in which employers are placed. Before verifying the legal status of job applicants, the employer must first offer the person a job. If the person is not eligible to work in the U.S., the employer is obligated to inform the person of their rights. If the person does not speak English, the employer must read the rights in the person’s native language. Failing to comply with the statue can result in fines and business closure.

A good resource that helps Alabama employers find qualified workers and follow the law is I-9Compliance.com, an integrated solution that can manage the complex system of I-9 compliance. This web-based solution is capable of streamlining the E-Verify process in one or multiple locations.

As a designated agent, I-9Compliance.com recommends that employers also trace the social security number of a prospective applicant, where legality is a concern. The social security number trace is typically part of the standard pre-employment background check. This might help to determine if the social security number is valid.

A valid trace indicates the employer can conduct the E-Verify process. Typically, the process for a social security trace is less time consuming and can prevent non-compliance with the Alabama law. An invalid return on the social security number eliminates the need for the employer to follow-up with the E-Verify system after making a job offer to an ineligible applicant.

I-9Compliance.com is a designated E-Verify agent. Using an integrated system with the Department of Homeland Security ensures real-time confirmation and compliance if there are any changes to the law. This system also notifies employers when the documentation for current workers expire, providing ongoing compliance.

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