Punishments proposed for businesses that hire illegal immigrants


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Desertdog
January 20, 2006, 07:01 PM
Looks like somebody may be seeing the light.
Thank God for election years. Without them the little guy would never be heard.

Punishments proposed for businesses that hire illegal immigrants
http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=4383148


Two Arizona lawmakers have proposed punishments on businesses that contribute to the state's vast immigration problems by hiring foreign workers who sneak across the border to find better-paying jobs.


Even though federal law already outlaws the hiring of illegal immigrants, the lawmakers say the federal government has done a poor job of holding businesses accountable for turning to illicit workers to fill construction, agricultural and service industry jobs.

Among the three employer punishment proposals now in the Arizona Legislature, one would make it a state crime for businesses to knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Another would require employers to check the employment eligibility of job prospects by running their names through federal databases, systems that are now used on a voluntary basis. Both bills would carry civil fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.

A third bill would let businesses fire workers who have invalid Social Security numbers and would strip violators of their state-issued business licenses and certifications. It also would give legal workers the right to sue companies that fire them while keeping illegal immigrants on the payroll.

"I'm going after (illegal hirings) because it's wrong," said Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, the Legislature's most vocal proponent for restricting immigration who is sponsoring of one of the bills.

Illegal immigrants account for 10 percent of all Arizona workers and more than 4 percent of all workers in the U.S. economy, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates.

Arizona, the busiest illegal entry point along the country's porous southern border, serves as a hub for smugglers who transport illegal workers across the country.

Even though immigrants provide the economy with cheap labor, Arizona and other border states shoulder huge health care and education costs for illegal workers and their families.

Public pressure is mounting for state politicians who face re-election races this year to confront the problem, even though immigration has long been considered the sole province of the federal government.

Employer-sanction proposals have failed at the Legislature over the last two years in the face of opposition from the business lobby.

Farrell Quinlan, spokesman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said `the federal government's employment eligibility system isn't advanced enough to handle the demands of tens of thousands of businesses checking up on their workers.

"It would shut down hiring," Quinlan said.

Instead, the business group will likely seek state-provided incentives to encourage employers to receive training on meeting the government's employment eligibility requirements, Quinlan said.

The lawmakers pushing the employer sanctions have different motivations.

Democratic Sen. Bill Brotherton of Phoenix said the movement for the state to crack down on illegal immigration has focused on denying illegal border-crossers government benefits and done nothing to confront employers who turn to illegal labor.

"I don't think it's appropriate for us to turn a blind eye to those businesses and keep pounding away at the immigrants," Brotherton said.

Pearce said the jobs given to illegal immigrants contribute to a strain on taxpayer resources, because the workers and their families use government services that they don't pay for.

Pearce said Arizona doesn't have to rely on the federal government to enforce the ban on hiring illegal workers and that the state's Registrar of Contractors could check on employers.

Brotherton said he plans to seek $500,000 for the Arizona Attorney General's Office to enforce his proposed ban on illegal hirings.

"There would be a great deal of dependence on honest reporting," said Attorney General Terry Goddard, a fellow Democrat who supports Brotherton's proposals. "There is not enough in the $500,000 that Sen. Brotherton has proposed to inspect every work site."

Republican Rep. Bill Konopnicki of Safford, a restaurant and radio station owner who opposes employer sanctions, said businesses struggle to find workers to fill jobs and do their best to comply with the government's deeply flawed employment eligibility rules.

Business people aren't experts in scrutinizing records presented by new employees to show employment eligibility, Konopnicki said. Anti-discrimination laws also limit the way that businesses can question prospective employees.

The proposed punishments could cripple Arizona's economy if proponents of employer sanctions succeed, Konopnicki said.

"They don't know what they are playing with," Konopnicki said.

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Standing Wolf
January 20, 2006, 09:35 PM
"I'm going after (illegal hirings) because it's wrong," said Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, the Legislature's most vocal proponent for restricting immigration who is sponsoring of one of the bills.

Hey! A Republican with integrity!

CAnnoneer
January 21, 2006, 12:03 AM
It is clear that positive changes can only be instituted by a bottom-up approach. Minutemen and this guy are good examples. All the more reason to kick all the current top stooges out of office as soon as possible.

txgho1911
January 21, 2006, 12:37 AM
Mandatory retroactive loss of all abatements. Service companys can endanger big corporations for illeagals on the landscaping crew. The highschool is sorely lacking a voc ag class and lotts of job needy kids.

Waitone
January 21, 2006, 06:18 AM
I oppose penalties based on fines. A rectal extraction for a fine does not get to the heart of the matter. At a minimum the penalty should start at the foregone costs associated with the illegal being employed then add back in the support costs such as medical care, education, etc. Next add costs related to court and attorney fees. Add in cost of deportation including transportation and holding facilities. Once all the costs are assessed then think about the fines.

I think there should be a reward for employing legal immigrants (runs contrary to common sense but we're talking goobermint).

longeyes
January 21, 2006, 01:04 PM
"I'm going after (illegal hirings) because it's wrong," said Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, the Legislature's most vocal proponent for restricting immigration who is sponsoring of one of the bills.

"Hello, Russell, hey, this is the Republican National Committee in D.C. How are things going down there? You're up for re-election soon, right? You know, I think we might have some trouble giving you the support you need in your campaign and that would be a real shame because we know you're a good man. But, Russell, you got to lay off this illegal immigrant employer thing, man, real bad for business, real bad. You hearing me?"

RealGun
January 21, 2006, 01:32 PM
I believe a workaround already exists by hiring workers on a day to day basis (day workers). Requirements for hiring a worker full time would probably not address the problem much at all. Watch out for thresholds of requirements before getting too excitied about the problems being addressed in a meaningful way.

A crew boss might be an employer's only relationship with the actual workers.

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