Compliance and Legislation update: Alabama governor signs bill amending controversial immigration law

By Michael Klazema on 5/24/2012

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has signed House Bill 658, a bill that is intended to simplify and clarify Alabama’s existing immigration law.

The revised version is intended to address various aspects of the original law, including provisions disliked by the business community. In announcing the signing, Bentley contended that the law “reduces burdens on businesses while still holding them accountable to hire legal workers.” Bentley had previously indicated that he might veto the bill because it did not do enough to change the original law.

Under the law, any contractor or subcontractor that does business with the state is barred from employing undocumented workers and must use the federal E-Verify system to ensure that all workers have the legal right to work in the United States. Contractors that knowingly hire undocumented workers will be found in violation of the law and will lose the contract. In addition, a court can then subject the employer to a three-year probationary period, during which time the employer must file quarterly reports with the state’s Department of Industrial Relations for each new employee hired.

Repeat violators may face a five-year probationary period, the loss of the contract, and the suspension of their business license, in addition to being required to terminate the employment of all undocumented workers. A third violation can result in the permanent loss of the business license.

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