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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Huntsville tells vendors to verify workers with E-Verify


Huntsville tells vendors to verify workers with E-Verify

Sunday, August 30, 2009

By Steve Doyle

Huntsville Times Staff Writer

Getting a job with a Huntsville city government contractor just got a little more complicated.

Starting Jan. 1, city vendors will be required to screen prospective hires using the federal government's E-Verify system. The City Council approved the change with little discussion Thursday night. Councilman Bill Kling, who pitched the new rule, called it a "very modest proposal" to try to deter illegal immigration in a way that won't get the city sued.

"This is about the best we can do," he said before the vote. "We're not going to be a test case. We're not going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax money trying to defend something in court."

Kling noted that two lawyers - City Attorney Peter Joffrion and Mike Fees, the city's outside expert on immigration law - helped draft the policy.

Madison County, Decatur and Albertville already require most vendors hired under competitive bid laws to use E-Verify.

The free online system allows companies to verify the employment status of prospective hires by submitting names and Social Security numbers to the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security. Huntsville’s E-Verify rule applies to vendors with City contracts totaling $15,000 or more and that 411 vendors will be required to enroll in E-Verify. The policy passed the Council unanimously and Mayor Tommy Battle supports it.