U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Whether Immigration Reform and Control Act Preempts State Criminal Prosecutions

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to consider whether the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) preempts states in using information taken from Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification to prosecute individuals for state criminal offenses. The case at issue concerns a Kansas state law prosecution of individuals for identity theft. The high Court will hear arguments in the case in its term that will begin in October 2019.

Prosecutors in Kansas convicted three individuals of identity theft for using other people’s social security numbers to fill out I-9 forms to gain employment at different restaurants. After a series of appeals, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed their convictions, ruling that ICRA prohibited states from using information taken from I-9 forms as evidence in state law prosecutions due to preemption of federal law over state law. 

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Whether Immigration Reform and Control Act
Preempts State Criminal Prosecutions

IRCA only expressly limits the states’ ability to use information about individuals that is found on or attached to I-9 forms. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that even if the prosecution could find the same information elsewhere, the state still could not use it in its prosecution for identity theft. In these cases, the men had provided the same fraudulent social security numbers on their tax withholding forms as they had on their I-9 forms. Nonetheless, the Court still held that ICRA barred the state from using that information.

If the Supreme Court agrees with the Kansas Supreme Court, then no state would be able to use false employment data from I-9 forms to prosecute the individuals under state law for offenses based on the fake data. The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any type of relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your case. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.

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