San Diego County has become the latest local government in California to explore using E-Verify to check the legal status of their government workers.
County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Bill Horn have proposed a resolution to have the county explore using E-Verify for all county new hires and eventually for county contractors. San Diego County currently employs about 16,000 workers who are paid with taxpayer money.
The measure goes to a vote Tuesday morning at the Board of Supervisors meeting in San Diego. The measure needs three votes to pass (out of five). Supervisors Cox, Roberts, and Slater-Price have not yet indicated how they will vote, but all are registered Republicans and are believed to be supporters of the rule of law and legal workers.
If the measure is approved Tuesday, the county’s Chief Administrative Officer will then study the feasibility of utilizing E-Verify for all new county employees. San Diego County could begin using the Homeland Security web-based system within 90 days. The chief administrator will also determine if E-Verify is suitable for the county’s many contractors.
The county currently checks all new hires via the old I-9 paper form system and fingerprints applicants with a Live Scan device. E-Verify would add an instant, highly accurate computer check to that process to verify the applicant’s information with the Social Security Administration and Homeland Security.
Any discrepancies identified by E-Verify can be easily resolved by legal workers at their local Social Security office. Illegal aliens will not be eligible for employment with the county once they have been identified by E-Verify.
A Congressional Bill currently working its way through the House of Representatives, HR 2164 – The Legal Workforce Act, would mandate E-Verify for all government entities nationwide, to include existing employees in addition to all new hires. HR 2164 would also mandate the use of E-Verify for all new hires at all 7 million private businesses nationwide.
Many state and city governments already use E-Verify and if San Diego County joins the program, they will already be up and running if HR 2164 or a similar federal law mandating computer checks is passed. Local cities using E-Verify currently include Escondido, Temecula, Hemet, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Viejo. Oceanside also plans to begin using E-Verify soon for its government employees.
Proponents of strong workplace enforcement believe San Diego County would be the first county in California to adopt E-Verify and hope that other counties and cities will follow suit in light of the last month’s Supreme Court decision that state and local governments can mandate E-Verify checks and regulate business licenses to ensure a legal workforce.
Jim Betz, a spokesman for the SoCal Patriot Coalition and long-time E-Verify user for his San Diego business, Betz Concrete, thinks every employer should be using E-Verify whether it is mandatory or voluntary. “It’s just common sense to utilize every tool possible to ensure we are not hiring ineligible workers”, Betz said. “With unemployment over 10% in San Diego County, I want to make sure that I’m hiring American workers, and E-Verify helps me ensure that I’m in full compliance with Federal law”.
The Board of Supervisors meeting, public comments, and vote will take place Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the County Administration Building, 1600 Pacific Drive in San Diego.