City could use E-Verify for immigration status

The Internet-based program was called for by Mayor Allan Mansoor, a staunch critic of illegal immigration.

September 14, 2010|By Mona Shadia

*Updated from an earlier version

COSTA MESA — In an effort to crack down on illegal immigration, Mayor Allan Mansoor will ask the city to study a plan that would require employers to use E-Verify, a federal database that screens the immigration status of job applicants.

The issue is being brought forward at the request of Mayor Allan Mansoor, a staunch critic of illegal immigration.

"It's one piece of the puzzle; it's not going to solve everything," he said. "It has to be addressed on a larger scale by other cities as well. One city can't solve it on its own, but we can certainly do our part."


E-Verify, an Internet-based program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, allows employers to check employees' eligibility to work in the United States. The program is free to use and voluntary except for certain jobs, such as those with federal contracts, according to a city staff report.

At a recent news conference about plans to tighten the belt on illegal immigration in the city, Mansoor said he would like to explore whether Costa Mesa could use E-Verify before entering into agreements with contractors or could require employers seeking business licenses from the city to use E-Verify.

"I want to have a good open discussion about it regarding the application of it, what can and can't be done, and get feedback from the council and the public," Mansoor said.

City staff will research at least three issues, if the council reaches a consensus on the staff request: how the city can use E-Verify in its employment process; how the city can create "clauses" in its contracts or agreements to require those seeking contracts with Costa Mesa to use E-Verify before hiring; and how the city can require employers seeking business licenses to use the system, the staff report states.

So far this year, more than 13 million queries have been run through E-Verify, compared to 8.7 million queries in 2009, according to the report.

If You Go

What: City Council study session

When: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

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