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Bill to Crack Down on Illegals

Failure to make sure that undocumented immigrants are not working in Pennsylvania illegally, would mean a contractor couldn't bid on state contracts and could lose their state-issued construction license, and thus the ability to bid on private contracts. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center

An effort to crack down on undocumented workers in Pennsylvania picked up key support from two Republican state senators.

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This is another example of how the state governments are cracking down on undocumented immigrant workers. This will surely affect many landscape contractors, their businesses and employees.

Senators Chuck McIlhinney, of Bucks, and Kim Ward, of Westmoreland, are supporting two bills introduced by another Bucks legislator, Democratic Rep. John Galloway, and overwhelmingly approved by the Pennsylvania House last week.

Pennsylvania House Bills 1502 and 1503 would require contractors and subcontractors to verify their workers' identities using an online database called E-Verify, which is run by the Department of Homeland Security. The system is based on Social Security numbers and can confirm that workers are in the U.S. legally.

Ward said the two bills require contractors to use a labor force that is in this country legally. It will result in better workplace safety, ensure a qualified work force and guarantee that contractors and their employees are paying their proper taxes.

The future of the two bills in the state senate is still uncertain, however. Some chambers of commerce are opposed, and the American Civil Liberties Union thinks the E-Verify system isn't accurate and fears it could lead to computer hackers exploiting people's online Social Security numbers. But since Republicans control the chamber 30-20, support from two Republicans could be significant.

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August 23, 2019, 9:43 am PDT

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