Feds Sue Arizona College Administration

A number (frankly a small number) of news sources reported a couple of days ago that the Justice Department is suing the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona, supposedly for discriminating against non-citizens in its hiring practices (Washington Post, politico.com, The Examiner, Fox News).

Apparently the issue is that the school system is requiring non-citizen job applicants to produce their green card to prove their right to work in the US and fill in some additional “immigration paperwork” beyond what is required by law. The Justice Department objects despite the fact that it is illegal for the school to hire people who are not legally authorized to work in the US. The suit was filed on behalf of an individual who claimed he is a permanent resident but wasn’t able to find his green card.

Unfortunately, most of the news sources I was able to find fail to really deal with the core issue in a meaningful way. It seems to me that the key issue is whether the documents that the law mandates an applicant provide are sufficient to establish authorization to work. The Examiner claims that they don’t. If this is true then I would have thought the College District would be entitled to ask for more even if that exceeds what the law explicitly requires them to ask for. In my own experience, I have certainly always been required to provide proof of my eligibility to work in the US. The College District isn’t commenting given that the issue is pending litigation.

What I find most disappointing is that the news media seem unwilling to give us enough information to really assess the case on its merits. And depending on exactly what the facts of the situation turn out to be, on the surface it also seems disappointing that between the Justice Department and the Maricopa Community College District there apparently aren’t enough adults who are capable of working out this issue in a fair and legal way without having to resort to litigation in federal court.

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