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- 07-01-2012, 12:10 AM #1
PA - Ban on undocumented workers in construction is approved
By TOM BARNES
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (MCT)
Updated: 06/30/2012 11:38:12 PM EDT
HARRISBURG -- Legislation to prevent illegal immigrants from being hired by construction companies took a long time -- six years -- to make its way through the state Legislature, but the final vote Saturday was lopsided.
Senate Bill 637, by Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, won final approval from the Senate on a vote of 42 to 7. The bill passed the House Thursday, also by a wide bipartisan margin.
The ban on illegal immigrants working on publicly funded construction jobs in Pennsylvania is the product of several years of work by Ms. Ward and Reps. John Galloway, D-Bucks, and Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry. They argued that by hiring "illegal aliens" who have entered the U.S. improperly, contractors are taking construction jobs away from U.S. citizens and immigrants who have the proper papers.
The state Labor and Industry Department will have to check to make sure that all contractors and subcontractors have verified -- by checking workers' Social Security numbers to make sure they aren't stolen, and by using a federal Homeland Security identification system called E-Verify -- that all their workers and prospective workers were born in the U.S. or are here legally.
The checks are aimed at making sure citizens or haven't stolen someone else's Social Security number or snuck into the U.S. illegally. Companies that intentionally hire illegals will face a variety of penalties, from a warning on the first offense to being banned from publicly funded projects for up to three years and facing fines of up to $1,000. Projects covered by the law are those using state, municipal or county funds, but projects funded totally by private money aren't affected by the law.
The federal Homeland Security Department, since 2009, has required contractors to use E-Verify to make sure workers on federally funded projects are here legally. Pennsylvania is the 18th state to make similar requirements.
Ms. Ward said that sometimes, contractors hire illegal immigrants and pay them substandard wages with no benefits, in order to hold down labor costs. Such a practice is costing the state tax revenue, because the illegal workers don't pay taxes, the legislators said.
"This bill ensures that our workers aren't left on the unemployment lines because of workers who aren't permitted to be here in the first place," Ms. Ward said during Senate debate.
The bill now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett, who is expected to sign it. Ms. Ward said the wording of the bill was worked out by the staffers for the Senate, House and the administration earlier this week.
Most of the no votes were Philadelphia Democrats, who didn't give a reason. But in earlier debate critics claimed the bill was discriminatory against immigrants, who may not be able to find their proper papers. The American Civil Liberties Union had also criticized the bill.
Ms. Ward denied there is any discrimination involved. "It makes sense that construction projects funded by public tax dollars employ workers who are taxpayers and that legal construction workers who need jobs can get them," she said.
There is also a public safety side to the issue, she added. Making sure workers are who they say they are, and are in the country legally, helps ensure that workers are qualified to do complicated, sometimes dangerous construction work and that they aren't foreign terrorists who could make buildings unsafe, she said.
Ban on undocumented workers in construction is approved - The York Daily RecordWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 07-01-2012, 07:02 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Way to go PA
- 07-01-2012, 07:18 AM #3
well it not only the Construction Co. it all other Co also that hired Illegal immigrant . it not right the Co should be fine
1,000 it should be when the Co hired them . it how long they work for the Co that what they should Pay. & Put
in jail it not only Construction Co look at all of the other Co. you & I know who hired the legal immigrants
yes they have our jobs Kmart . in Pittston Pa menwearhouse . TJM. Allstate Alumin . & they live in apartment
5 family . wake the hell up
I know I think the Court should wake the hell up & help the USA .
I still say stop hired the illegal immigrant & stop the welfare don't rent to them
& they will go back home I don't care if they came in the right way .
No amnesty or Dream