Federal shutdown will put Arizona employers in a legal bind

Federal shutdown will put Arizona employers in a legal bind

CREATED Apr 8, 2011

Reported by:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - A Federal Government shutdown will put Arizona employers in a legal bind, making it impossible for them to comply with state hiring rules.  That's because a federal system that Arizona requires employers to use by law for the purpose of checking the immigration status of all new employees will be unavailable.

According to USCIS spokesperson Sharon Rummery, a shutdown would also shut down the Federal E-Verify system.   In most places within the country, use of that system is voluntary.  But not in Arizona.  When lawmakers passed the Arizona Worker's Act, they required all employers to use that system when hiring workers.  Now, the problem is raising questions and concerns with job-seekers.

Tucson resident Carlos Montano has been searching for a job for eight months while supporting three children.  For him, any delay in the hiring process could be crucial.

"It's hard there's really now work and there's a lot of competition out there," he said, I don't know what we're going to do next.  It's hard to find a job as it is, if it's going to get even harder who knows what we're going to do."

Meanwhile, Rick Mayes with Tucson's local sandwich shop Eegees says the shutdown could be just as bad for business.

"If this shuts down it's going to hold us up for a little bit," he said.

Eegee's is in it's peak hiring season and they're opening a new location.

"Obviously we have to keep moving forward because we have a new location opening.  We'll continue doing interviewing and hiring but we may have to postpone the actual hire date until this all shakes down," said Mayes.

Under the Arizona law, employers are allowed to hire workers before checking them through the E-Verify system, but must do so immediately afterwards and keep the information on file.

As of Thursday, state lawmakers contacted by 9 On Your Side said they were not working on any solutions because the shutdown is not a guarantee.   But as Friday's Federal deadline fast approached, employers and job-seekers were left hoping for the best.

Because a great deal of confusion continues to surround the question of what will happen in the advent of a federal government shutdown, on Friday KGUN9 News checked again to see what will happen with the  E-Verify system.   California-based U.S. Citizenship and Immigraiton Services public affairs officer Mariana Gitomer confirmed again that should the government shut down, E-Verify will be unavailable and that employers will not be able to log in.

A KGUN9 News crew is in Phoenix as of now seeking an update to this story.   Watch for that coverage on KGUN9 News Friday.