MARCH 20, 2007
An upscale Southern California city became the nation’s first this week to pass a law requiring local contractors to verify that all their workers are in the United States legally.
Fed up at the federal government’s inaction regarding illegal immigration, the Mission Viejo City Council unanimously passed the ordinance which will take effect in July and force all contractors to check workers’ immigration status by using a 9-year-old government verification system called Basic Pilot.
Mission Viejo’s ordinance differs from those of about 20 other cities across the nation battling illegal immigration because it seeks to control the hiring practices of businesses. Other municipalities, such as Hazleton Pennsylvania and Valley Park Missouri, have faced costly legal battles because their laws designed to curb illegal immigration have been deemed discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Evidently, lawmakers in Mission Viejo took that into account when they created their legislation since, technically, it is already illegal for businesses to hire workers who are not in the country legally.
In fact the Basic Pilot program, a verification system operated by the Department of Homeland Security, is available for free to all employers who care to verify an individual’s legal right to work in the U.S. About 15,000 employers nationwide currently use the national database, which is available in all 50 U.S. states.
Using this valuable tool to abide by federal law is “anti-immigrant” and “anti-business,” according to one Southern California immigration activist who says that businesses that rely on undocumented workers will now lose business. One Atlanta blogger differs, posting that Mission Viejo’s new ordinance should be the law in every state for every employer.
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