Gov't to crackdown on employers over immigrants

November 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
There are people with jobs in California and across the country that the federal government does not want them to have. A new crackdown on illegal immigrants is targeting the people who employ them. Those companies will have to prove they do not have illegals on the payroll or risk jail.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing hard to control undocumented workers by auditing their employers.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese says the timing couldn't be worse. He says "We have to tell these federal agencies that if you are going to come in and enforce archaic existing laws that don't make sense, especially in a bad economy, then you're going to be hard pressed to find a lot of cooperation in Santa Clara County."

Santa Clara County considers itself a safe haven for immigrants. There are more than 100,000 undocumented workers in the county.

Regardless, the secretary of Homeland Security wants all Americans to take a stand on this issue. In fact, she is calling on consumers to support companies that don't hire illegal immigrants.

Those businesses can post placards in their windows, showing they are using an "e-verify" or electronic verification system to check immigration status.

Those at Services Immigrant Rights and Education Network, or S.I.R.E.N., worry about the ripple effect, and the impact on undocumented workers.

"It's not fair to those being laid off because they're only here with the desire to work and earn a living for their families," says Richard Hobbs from S.I.R.E.N.

But at the Holiday Inn Express in Redwood City says no undocumented workers are ever hired here.

"I personally agree with them cracking down," says Sagar Patel, the Holiday Inn Express owner.

He supports the feds position and push to use e-verify. It is a system that is considered more reliable than I-9 forms.

"As long as it helps us determine if someone is eligible to work or not, it makes our job easier and so we feel like we are being responsible business owners," said Patel.

Roughly 150 California businesses will be audited by the federal government.


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