Freedom Folks

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shocker: Criminal Enterprises Don't Like Law Enforcement!

Source: AJC

I know, I know, I'm shocked as well.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: State’s new rules vex contractors

Large contracting firms on public jobs soon will have to screen new hires through a federal online system and reject those not authorized to work in the United States. It’s part of Georgia’s new law to crack down on illegal immigration.

“What we’re trying to do is simply to prevent the hiring of undocumented workers in Georgia, and to prevent them from working for the public sector,” said Sam Hall, communications director for the Georgia Department of Labor.

The agency issued draft rules this week for how contractors must verify new hires. A public hearing is scheduled for May 3, and final rules will come out shortly after.

In a state considered to have one of the fastest-growing illegal immigrant populations in the country, the new rules have contractors worried.

“Finding quality craft tradespeople has been a challenge for many, many years, and anything that could potentially affect that number causes great concern,” said Bill Anderson, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia.

The draft rule requires contractors and subcontractors with 500 employees or more to run new hires through the Department of Homeland Security’s Basic Pilot Program starting July 1. They and their subcontractors must sign an affidavit saying they have done so.

The requirement will eventually apply to all contractors and subs in 2009. It is a part of Senate Bill 529, the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, which became law last year.

“Only time will tell how this will really affect our industry —- whether it will cost money or cause heartaches trying to find workers,” said Ray Rodriguez, human resources vice president for Marietta-based paving company C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., which has 1,500 employees.

The federal government’s Basic Pilot Program matches an employee’s name against the Social Security number and checks immigration status. In most cases it instantly zaps back an answer as to whether the information matches and an employee is allowed to work in the United States.

About 15,300 employers nationwide now use the Basic Pilot Program, which is voluntary.

In Georgia it will be mandatory for all public jobs, but not for private home building or other nonpublic work.

While some contractors say they anticipate no problems, others wonder how the screening program will affect the available work force.

If there’s a shortage of legal workers and labor prices rise, a contractor might have to eat into his profit to do a job, said Mike Hardin, president of Alpharetta-based Harcon Inc., a subcontractor that sets concrete forms for parking decks, high-rises and office buildings.

If the labor market gets really tight, it’s possible companies won’t bid on public contracts, Hardin said. “Right now, times are so good, you have such a huge selection of jobs you can take, why would you take those jobs?”

Georgia’s draft rule contains no penalties for failing to screen an employee, and the Georgia Department of Labor will only conduct random audits of companies once the state Legislature devotes money to pay for enforcement.

Cobb County adopted its own rules for contractors in January. Those who do business with Cobb could be charged with breach of contract for not using the Basic Pilot Program and could be found liable for damages if the county experiences delays on a project.

Cobb likewise is not planning aggressive enforcement and will at most respond to complaints.

“At this time we are not planning on riding around and checking paperwork,” Cobb County spokesman Robert Quigley said.
Here s DA King's response which, oddly, the newspaper didn't see fit to print...
State’s new rules vex contractors? Golly, considering that SB 529 merely dictates that contractors comply with existing federal laws, it is more than a little difficult to find any sympathy for the “vexed” employers.

While it is likely extreme and unreasonable to require the contractors being paid with taxpayer dollars hire legal labor, most Georgians supplying those dollars – and the funds to pay for the medical care for the black market workers we all see everyday - kind of hope that those charged with enforcing the law find more enthusiasm.

The AJC reports that “there is no criminal penalty for not complying” with the law that requires the use of the free federal employee verification system. Wrong: False swearing that the Basic Pilot program is being used is…a crime.

One must ask: Why are tax dollars being spent on a Department of Labor public hearing on the draft rules? Is there still a chance that the contractors can convince the Labor Commissioner to ignore the law? Again?
Yep, who'da thunk it, criminals not liking the law enforced, imagine that!

H/T Dusty Inman

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