An Arizona state statute passed and approved by Gov. Janet Napolitano July 2, in part, states that the county attorney and or state attorney general will be responsible for the enforcement of punishment for employment of illegal immigrants.
"The new law requires the state Attorney General or county attorney, upon receiving a complaint that an employer allegedly intentionally or knowingly employs an unauthorized alien, to investigate the alleged violation," Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores said in an e-mail statement.
If the claim was grounded, an action would be filed in superior court, Flores said.
"If the court finds a violation, the employer would be ordered to terminate the employment, be subject to a probation period, file an affidavit with in three days, swearing the employee was terminated, and will not knowingly do it again," she said.
The county will assume responsibility for any town illegal immigrant employment claims, beginning Jan. 1, 2008.
Deputy Town Attorney Tim Wright said that the town ordinance includes an affidavit that business owners must sign when applying for new or renewed business licenses, attesting that they are not knowingly employing illegal immigrants.
The town was previously responsible for following up on violations of the business license terms set forth in the ordinance.
Now, Wright said, the new statute pre-empts the town's responsibilities and places enforcement in the hands of the county or state.
In a related story, nearly two weeks ago, a federal judge struck down a law in Hazleton, Pa., aimed at fighting illegal immigration. That decision doesn't affect a Payson ordinance designed to deal with employment of illegal immigrants, Payson town attorneys said.
"Our ordinance is crafted differently from the Hazleton ordinance," Town Attorney Sam Streichman said.
"I doubt that we will be challenged on anything that's left (in the ordinance)."
Streichman said that the Hazleton ordinance was a radical and hateful ordinance, declaring that illegal immigrants were ruining the town.
"Our (ordinance) is a bit different," he said. "A lot of why we got to where we're at is to try and get a level playing field for business."
Flores said that the federal court ruled that the Hazleton act was pre-empted by federal law and would have violated due process law, if passed.