SEPTEMBER 05, 2008
Two public college professors are suing Rhode Island’s governor to stop an executive order requiring all state contractors to check the immigration status of workers and state police and prison officials to identify illegal immigrants for possible deportation.
Represented by a nationally known civil rights group, the Rhode Island College teachers (Daniel Weisman and Ann Marie Mumm), whose salaries come from taxpayers, claim Governor Don Carcieri violated the state constitution and that he failed to hold a public hearing before signing the measure into law earlier this year.
Furthermore, the lawsuit points out that the federal database (E-Verify) used to check workers’ immigration status disproportionately identifies foreign-born employees as ineligible and that will encourage employers to discriminate against workers who appear foreign. Therefore, professor Weisman said, he opposes its use as a matter of public policy, particularly in light of its “discriminatory impact on naturalized citizens and other foreign-born workers.”
Similar local measures to curb illegal immigration have been legally challenged nationwide, with the high cost of litigation often forcing smaller municipalities to drop the laws all together. In many instances the ordinances have been defeated in court. Examples include Escondido California and Hazleton Pennsylvania. Others, such as Valley Park Missouri, Riverside New Jersey and Farmers Branch Texas, are still battling costly lawsuits.
Local governments that have successfully implemented laws to curb illegal immigration include Virginia’s Prince William County’s resolution to deny taxpayer-funded services to illegal aliens, Arizona’s stiff penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants and Oklahoma’s measure denying illegal aliens state identification cards and public benefits.
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