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Pierce County Council approves E-Verify requirement

Post by David Wickert on Oct. 7, 2009 at 9:37 am with 11 Comments »
October 7, 2009 9:40 am

Pierce County will require private companies that get county contracts to verify their employees can legally work in the United States.

On Tuesday the County Council approved the new requirement by a vote of 6-0. County Executive Pat McCarthy, who vetoed a similar measure last month, has indicated she will sign the new ordinance.

The new law will require contractors to enroll in and use the federal E-Verify program. The program allows businesses to check several federal databases to ensure their employees can legally work in this country.

Under the new law, the county also will verify the employment status of its own workers.

“The United States accepts more people from other nations than all other countries combined,” said, Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, the chief sponsor of the ordinance. “E-Verify gives us a way to ensure that U.S. jobs go to those who have earned the right to work here.”

McCarthy supports the E-Verify proposal. But she vetoed a previous ordinance because she said it was too broad and could result in fewer businesses competing for county contracts. She also feared it would have a disproportionate impact on small businesses, nonprofits and companies owned by minorities and women.

She argued the E-Verify requirement should apply only to county contracts worth at least $250,000. The measure the council approved Tuesday includes a $100,000 threshold for road and other public works projects and a $25,000 threshold for other contracts.

“The federal government implemented this (E-Verify) requirement on contracts valued at $100,000 or more just last month, despite concerns by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” McCarthy said. “It’s my hope that these systems will get off to a smooth start and accomplish the goal of continuing to protect American jobs.”

You can read the full press releases issued by the council and executive below.

Oct. 6, 2009

As the current recession forces job reductions and boosts demand for existing jobs, Pierce County will now have a tool to ensure that those who work for the county are lawfully able to do so.

The County Council today, Oct. 6, unanimously authorized the county to participate in E-Verify, a federal Internet database that instantly confirms whether or not job applicants have documents establishing their eligibility to work in the United States. Applicants for county jobs will be screened using E-Verify, and most businesses seeking to do contract work for the county will be required to use the system for their own employees.

“The United States accepts more people from other nations than all other countries combined,” said Councilmember Dick Muri, the ordinance’s prime sponsor. “E-Verify gives us a way to ensure that U.S. jobs go to those who have earned the right to work here.”

As part of the ordinance (2009-74s), businesses would need to confirm they are enrolled in E-Verify if they are seeking road or other county public works contracts worth more than $100,000. Those applying for any other contract worth more than $25,000 must do the same.

E-Verify works by allowing employers to electronically compare employees’ information taken from the federal Form I-9 – the paper-based employment form used for all new hires – against more than 449 million records in the Social Security Administration database and 80 million records in the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration database.

The system has proven effective at screening out workers with questionable status. Of all new hires screened by E-Verify, 2.8 percent are eventually found to have documents that can’t be confirmed by the system.

The city of Lakewood uses E-Verify for all of their contracts, and 11 other U.S. states use some form of E-Verify requirement for their state and local contracts. The federal government also uses the system to check the status of its own new hires and requires its contractors to participate.

“It’s time to make a stand to protect U.S. jobs for those who are legally allowed to have them,” Councilmember Shawn Bunney said. “This was a hard path to go down, but it’s the right path.”

CONTACT: Brad Chatfield, Council Communications Manager, 253-798-6626

Oct. 6, 2009

Executive ready to implement E-Verify

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said her administration is preparing to use the federal E-Verify program to confirm employment eligibility among county workers and contractors.

The Executive, who vetoed the County Council’s original E-Verify ordinance that was approved in August, said she appreciated the Council’s cooperation in addressing her concerns by passing a new version Tuesday. She issued the following statement after the 6-0 vote:

“I’ve said all along that I have no problem with implementing the E-Verify program. In fact, our Human Resources Department is ready to apply it to county hires from now on, even before the ordinance goes into effect.

“However, the original ordinance was too broad. One of my biggest concerns was that it would result in fewer businesses competing in our bidding process, which could result in higher costs for the County as well as have a disproportionate impact on mom-and-pop operations, nonprofits and companies owned by minorities and women.

“My administration convened a work group that quickly studied the issues and worked with the Council to write a more efficient ordinance that still captures most County contracts.

“The federal government implemented this requirement on contracts valued at $100,000 or more just last month, despite concerns by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s my hope that these systems will get off to a smooth start and accomplish the goal of continuing to protect American jobs.”

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. janicegammill says:

    I think this is the best news of the month!!! More work to do like fire McCarthy who doesn’t seem to want to put citizens first! Congratulations to all who worked on getting this approved! Now let’s concentrate on the sub-contractors and make this mandatory for all buisness in Pierce!

  2. janicegammill says:

    I don’t understand McCarthy’s logic. She says fewer buisnessess would compete in the bidding process? Wouldn’t that be because they hired illegals in the first place? What a bunch of spin!

  3. StraightCash says:

    It’s not clear if the County intends this to apply to only new hires or all employees. Regardless, I sure hope the federal database is better than the Federal “No Fly” list, if it’s not then there will be people out of a job due to poor record keeping. Also, now that they have instituted this system, expect to see employers asking new hires to sign a waiver allowing them to do full background checks on employees – the employers are not going to have a choice as long as the government wants to make them responsible for policing immigration law.

  4. Brittanicus says:

    YES! Legal Immigration matters? We should announce to the world that newcomers are welcome, if they come through the front door? We only need those immigrants with specialized skills, such as computer engineers and those with highly recommended credentials. What we don’t need is pregnant women slipping across our border, for instant citizenship of their child or destitute illegal aliens whose cannot exist without taxpayer welfare? We don’t need in this country illegal recipients who need free health care, education when we already ignore our own people who live in poverty? We need to enforce the 1986 immigration reform law (IRCA), not cripple it for the sake of parasite businesses who live of the slavery of millions of foreign national workers. We need to execute now, a complete war immigration chest containing a mandated E-Verify for every worker, 287 G, local police arrest of foreign workers, the Rep.Duncan Hunter original national fence, instead of chopping it down to single line. We need enforcement of our laws, with harsh penalties for violating them. We need politicians we can trust, instead of the elected such as Sen.Reid, Speaker Pelosi, Feinstein and a whole list, who can be graded as Anti-American worker, anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigration and compromisers of the Rule of Law.

  5. Crazy_Amish says:

    what part of “Illegal” is Legal?

    when is there going to be a bounty on illegals,lots of out of work citizens would be jumping on the bandwagon.

  6. janicegammill says:

    Everify is 98 percent effective and is a match up with the Social Security Administration. Usuallly if a citizen is affected its something simple like a name change due to marriage or something. They have time to fix it. Why are people against any kind of program that will get rid of the sucking illegals?

  7. Congrats to Pierce County. Here is a good article and a good company for anyone looking for help with E-Verify. I used them and they are a stand up group with loads of experience.


  8. AuntBee says:

    Congratulations Mr. Muri, finally we have some representatives with a backbone and a brain. I hope they consider checking out the status of the businesses who’s business owners are not in compliance and are participating in County work projects and paying “so called temporary employees in cash” no W2’s or 1099’s. If the State or the Counties want to recover some revenue, why don’t they start cracking down on all of the food businesses and retailers that don’t ring the register when you pay them with cash. They open the cash drawer and close it without even entering a sale. Ever go out to dinner and pay cash and then ask for a cash receipt and they look at you like, “are you kidding me?”. If they do give you a receipt, it’s so faded that the ink disappears off of it before you get home. They are skimming a ton of cash. Why do you think Cash & Carry and Costco do so well supplying these skimmers, their is no trail. I know of one local family that owns a chain of restuarunts, and they pay cash for almost everything, supplies, liquor, cars, vacations, and even real estate and yes not last but least, illegal workers get paid in cash. Olla.

  9. headedsouth says:

    Dick – it will take more than this type of smoke and mirrors to beat Congressman Adam Smith. How about working on ways to get people A job first. Stop with the political games of trying to get your base riled up over illegal aliens and start doing some real work.

  10. Dick, I think its a great start! Next will be to phase out the exclusions to 0. Great job Dick Muri and the PC Counsil!!!!

  11. joshamato says:

    @headedsouth – I’m failing to see how he is playing politics by requiring that all people who do work with the county are legal. This does protect jobs for honest American’s and will keep employers who want to work with the county from hiring illegal immigrants and instead hiring legal workers. It wasn’t a tactic to get the base riled up, it was common sense legislation to help curb illegal immigration and protect Pierce County jobs.

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