Businesses that hire illegals could lose state contracts

Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal, October 28, 2005

Businesses hiring illegal immigrants could lose state government contracts and state agencies are making sure they are also not directly employing undocumented workers.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has ordered state agencies to make sure they are not hiring illegal immigrants. Napolitano also told state contractors that if they are caught employing illegal

The governor also is telling state agency directors to set up procedures for random checks of contractors employment records to make sure their workers are in the U.S. legally. The Democratic governor issued those dictums in an executive order Oct. 20....

There are more than 500,000 illegal immigrants living in Arizona, according to estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center. Napolitano's action does not go as far as employer sanctions favored by state Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, and other immigration hawks.

Pearce wants to deny business licenses and operating charters to companies caught hiring illegals. "I am running legislation that requires and demands contractors who do business with the state, must verify and guarantee all of their workers are legal and all agencies must guarantee they are legally here to get any license at all," said Pearce. "This conduct is criminal."

Pearce and other conservative Republicans have been critical of Napolitano on the immigration front. The governor opposed a voter-approved 2004 measure that denies state welfare benefits to illegals and vetoed measures aimed at expanding that referendum earlier this year.

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