Tennessee law to thwart employment of illegal immigrants effective Jan. 1

| 12/27/2007

A new law in Tennessee that goes on the books the first of the year allows the state to suspend business licenses for companies found to have “knowingly” employed illegal immigrants.

The new law takes effect Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. It permits the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to suspend business licenses for companies found to have hired illegal immigrants.

Supporters said the new law will make the state less attractive for illegal immigrants. Opponents said it is the federal government’s responsibility to enforce immigration laws.

Farmers are exempt from the new rule. They are not required to have business licenses.

A suspension would be lifted once a company proved it no longer had any illegal immigrants as employees. Subsequent offenses occurring within three years would mandate license suspensions for one year.

Employers who check identification and are misled by an illegal immigrant will not be considered to be in violation and will not be prosecuted.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Tennessee, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor