Federal law prohibits the hiring of the thousands of foreign workers who sneak into the country each year, but many businesses turn to illegal immigrants to fill construction, agricultural and service industry jobs.
A frustrated Arizona lawmaker says he will push a proposal next year to give American workers the right to sue companies that fire them while keeping illegal immigrants on the payroll. Violators would have their state business licenses suspended.
If the idea clears the Legislature, it would appear on the 2006 ballot. Political scientists say it could succeed if supporters portray the measure as a way to confront illegal immigration.
The idea, similar to a bill now in the Oklahoma Legislature, is opposed by business. Some lawyers also question whether it would conflict with federal law, which they say trumps state law on matters of immigration.