Carroll sets new rule on immigration compliance

County vendors must obey the law

By Arin Gencer

Sun reporter

February 8, 2008

The Carroll County commissioners approved yesterday a resolution requiring vendors who provide goods and services to the county to comply with federal immigration laws or face having their contracts terminated.

"This is a limited response within the scope and the reasonable expectation of what county government can do on this," Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said. "We need to do something to show our intent to follow the law and our intent to require others to follow the law, to the extent that we can enforce it."

The issue of illegal immigration has surfaced repeatedly over the past several months in the county. Last month, officials in Taneytown rejected a resolution declaring that Taneytown was not a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. Last fall, Commissioner Michael D. Zimmer suggested that the county consider denying services to adult illegal immigrants.

Anne Arundel County officials said in August that they would sever ties with government contractors that employ illegal immigrants in what was apparently the first directive of its kind in the state.

The resolution passed yesterday by the Carroll commissioners serves to make "sure that our contracts with our vendors ... are complying with all of our federal laws related to immigration," said County Attorney Kim Millender as she presented it to the Board of Commissioners.

When Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge asked how the county could enforce the resolution, Millender said that if a county agency was notified of noncompliance, it would have to investigate the situation.

"Vendors providing goods or services to Carroll County government shall be specifically advised that, as a condition of doing business with the county, they are required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to the employment of aliens," the resolution states. Vendors who fail to comply would be breaching their contract, and "the county shall take all reasonable steps to terminate the county's contractual relationship with the vendor."

Zimmer said he could see vendors who don't win county contracts watching their competitors' practices.

"There's obviously an incentive there for business competitors to kind of keep an eye on one another," he said.