By Daniel González,The Arizona Republic
Nearly 700 employers in Arizona enrolled in a federal program to screen out undocumented workers after Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the new employer-sanctions law on July 2.
Thousands more are waiting to see whether the law survives a legal challenge. The law requires every employer in Arizona to enroll in the E-Verify program, formerly Basic Pilot, by Jan. 1 or risk seeing their business license revoked if caught employing an undocumented worker.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said 1,117 Arizona employers were registered as of Friday. That is more than double the 433 participants when the law was signed, but still a fraction of the more than 150,000 employers in Arizona.
Immigration lawyers are suggesting employers hold off on enrolling until December, when a federal judge may have ruled on the law. If not, lawyers plan to tell employers to sign up en masse to test the program.
E-Verify has been stymied by errors and is not designed to screen out undocumented workers using stolen identities. Still, it should be able to handle the rush, CIS spokeswoman Marie Sebrechts said.