Several cities in Riverside County will no longer have the ability to require local business owners to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of potential employees after January 1.
Assembly Bill 1236, authored by Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), prohibits the state, and its cities, counties and special districts from requiring employers to use E-Verify. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law earlier this month, and it will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
“This bill will protect California’s workers and businesses. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that the E-Verify system flags eligible U.S. workers as ineligible to work,” said Assembly Member Fong. “In these tough economic times, the mandated use of this system would impose a major financial burden on businesses. We need to help businesses grow and protect American jobs, not impose job killing mandates.”
But the city councils of Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Menifee and Wildomar saw things differently. Over the past few years, these Riverside County cities had passed laws requiring employers to use E-Verify as a condition of obtaining contracts with the city, or to obtain or keep their business licenses.
Like many of the city council representatives in these four cities, Lake Elsinore Councilman Daryl Hickman saw E-Verify as a way to lower the unemployment rate, as legal unemployed residents would not have to compete against illegal immigrants for jobs in Lake Elsinore. In Riverside County, unemployment was more than 15 percent in June 2010 when his council approved legislation requiring both the city and any businesses it would contract with to use E-Verify.
“The way to curbsome of the illegal immigration is to cut off their jobs and that’s what the E-Verifyprogram would do,” he stated at that council meeting.
U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert, who represents most of Riverside and other areas to the north and west of the four cities with E-Verify regulations, is credited as the inventor of E-Verify. He expressed disappointment with the state of California’s new legislation, and pledged to campaign for a new law requiring all employers in the United States to use E-Verify.
“Across America, various states and local governments are enacting mandatory E-Verify. Meanwhile, California is going the other way by enacting a ban on voluntary E-Verify, and in fact the governor is signing laws to preempt the use of E-Verify. This is an outrage,” said Rep. Calvert.