Be Our (and Only Our) Guest


Since January, Arizona businesses have been required to check the immigration status of every new hire against the federal  E-Verify program. The state will start enforcing the law in March, and some legislators expect that it will drive off needed workers. So they've come up with a solution of extremely dubious constitutionality: a state-level guest worker program.

Facing a worker shortage, and unwilling to wait for a federal fix, some Southern Arizona lawmakers want the state to run its own temporary foreign worker program. The proposal by Sen. Marsha Arzberger, D-Willcox, would let companies that are suffering a "labor shortage" seek permission from the state Industrial Commission to bring in their own workers from Mexico.

It even would have the state issue identification cards to the foreigners authorized to work here. "The federal government has not met the responsibility to come up with comprehensive immigration reform," Arzberger said.