AUTHOR’S NOTE — While the seven compliance steps in this educational article are related to deadlines imposed by the Alabama Immigration Act, good faith immigration compliance is a nationwide issue under the United States Department of Homeland Security, and 17 states, in some fashion, now mandate the use of E-Verify for all new hires.

On June 9, 2011, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act (the “Act”), and on Sept. 28, 2011 U.S. Federal District Judge Sharon Blackburn temporarily enjoined (stopped from going into effect) certain portions of the Act. On Oct. 14, 2011, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined two additional provisions.

Nevertheless, almost all of the provisions affecting Alabama employers remain in place and impose significant new immigration compliance obligations with severe consequences if you fail to comply, including inability to contract with public entities and loss of business license and permits.

Delay is no longer an option if you wish to keep your Alabama business in business. Your immediate attention is required as the initial Jan. 1, 2012 deadline quickly approaches.

Do’s and don’ts of Alabama immigration law

1.) Don’t knowingly employ, hire for employment, or continue to employ an unauthorized alien to perform work within the state of Alabama. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, all Alabama business entities seeking to contract with the state of Alabama, or any political subdivision thereof (city, county, public authority, etc), or “transact business” with any of these same entities, should prepare now to verify the status of every new employee through the federal E-Verify procedures, secure documentation that they are in fact a business entity (most likely a record from the Alabama secretary of state), fire unauthorized aliens and have an immigration compliance check-up conducted to allow the business to provide a good faith affidavit of immigration compliance (Sections 9, 15, 26 and 30 of the Act) to the political subdivisions it seeks to contract with or “transact business” with. Shortly, all Alabama employers enrolled in E-Verify will have their name listed on a state website [Sections 26 of the Act]. 

2.) Do enroll in E-Verify. Effective April 1, 2012, every Alabama business entity or employer should be enrolled in E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of every new hire in the state of Alabama.

E-Verify provides a safe harbor so that an employer who uses the E-Verify system “shall not be deemed to have violated (Section 15 of the Act) with respect to the employment of that employee.”