The Georgetown city council recently voted unanimously to consider a proposal in early January that will create a new city ordinance that would require contractors seeking work from the city to prove all their employees are legal US citizens.
The City of Georgetown is taking new steps to crack down on illegal immigration.
The council voted unanimously to have staff write a proposal for a new city ordinance that would require contractors to prove their employees are in this country legally.
That’s how Georgetown council member Keith Brainard came up with the idea to create an ordinance ensuring anyone working for the city in any manner, including sub-contracted, is a legal immigrant.
They’re attempting to crack down on illegal immigrants not the actual immigration. But their attempt is to actually punish a few companies that may be hiring illegal immigrants that are contracting with the city. A story from KLBJ has more on this and some words from a Williamson County businessman who thinks it’s a good idea.
Councilman Keith Brainard is asking city staff to find a way to require all city contractors to operate the way Hill’s company does and submit proof the people working for them are authorized to work in the United States. Brainard says he is not concerned with one particular contract or company, but, in general, would like to see, â€œa city policy that would pertain to all city contractsâ€. He says the cityâ€™s legal staff have not indicated to him how that could be accomplished, or if it can be accomplished. He says it is possible that the requirement will become a â€œâ€™to the extent possibleâ€™ kind of thing, but I do feel the city has an obligation to make an effort.â€
Hill says he supports Councilman Brainardâ€™s motion , because he feels the move would result in a more even playing field between his business and competitors he says who do not follow federal laws when it comes to hiring or compensation. He says he believes that while it was difficult in years past for employers to verify their employeeâ€™s identification or documents, the process has now been streamlined. â€œItâ€™s not difficult to do at all,â€ says Hill, but adds, â€œItâ€™s extra paperwork, it takes extra time and it does take diligence.â€
Sounds like a new position on the payroll to me. These types of ordinances which have been tried all over the country are being struck down one after another, U.S. Courts Strike Down Immigration Ordinances.
In ruling against the ordinance, U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay of the Northern District of Texas, said that “only the federal government may determine whether an individual is legally in the United States.”
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said that the court rulings against local immigration ordinances will likely continue because the measures conflict with federal law and raise Constitutional questions.
In addition, he said judges are leery of allowing hundreds of little immigration laws around the country.
As far as the test case of Hazleton, he added, “one would have to bet against Hazleton prevailing in the litigation. The town is bucking decades of precedent.”
In addition to a patchwork of local ordinances across the country, more than 1,400 pieces of legislation related to immigrants and immigration have been introduced in state houses, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
Why the city of Georgetown is making on this essentially pointless attempt, that would most certainly be struck down by the federal courts, leaves political pandering as a likely explanation. I hear the Mayor’s not running for reelection. Taylor resident and local LULAC President Jose Orta had released this statement:
It has come to our attention that the Georgetown City Council will vote on January 8th to consider enacting a new Hazleton style city ordinance that will require contractors and subcontractors to prove their employees are in this country legally.
LULAC Council 4721 requests that the Georgetown City Council table the creation of any anti-immigrant ordinance. Georgetownâ€™s anti-immigrant ordinance is simply not needed. Immigration law is a matter reserved for the U.S. Congress and federal law. In fact, in 1986 Congress enacted sweeping legislation that makes it unlawful for businesses to employ illegal immigrants and expressly pre-empts states and localities from imposing their own civil or criminal penalties.
The ordinance that is being contemplated is fueled by a mixture of misinformation and fear, if enacted, it will foster discrimination and racial profiling in Georgetown. This ill conceived ordinance will create opportunities to discriminate against anyone who simply looks like he or she might be an undocumented worker, citizen and non-citizen alike.
Other states and municipalities across the country have unsuccessfully attempted to adopt similarly divisive, unnecessary and illegal measures. Courtâ€™s across this country have found Hazelton type ordinances unconstitutional because it encroaches on federal immigration powers, fails to provide procedural protection to people before they are fired and violates federal civil rights laws. The Supreme Court has already determined it was the exclusive province of the federal government to determine whether a person is in the United States lawfully or not.
Our Council urges the Georgetown City Council to avoid spending taxpayer dollars on an ordinance that will simply produce legal challenges that will burden the local taxpayer.
Jose Orta,President LULAC Council 4721
A waste of time and money, plain and simple.