Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman has presented to the Borough Council a municipal ordinance that would mandate the implementation of “E-Verify” within the town’s municipal code.
E-Verify, formerly the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program, is an online system operated jointly by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA), that allows participating employers to check the work status of new hires online by comparing information from an employee’s I-9 form against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases. More than 87,000 employers are enrolled in the program, with over 6.5 million queries run so far in fiscal year 2008.
The internet-based service is free, and is currently recognized as the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires, and the validity of their Social Security numbers and work status.
In local administrations such as Carteret, the service would mandate participation in E-Verify for all vendors, contractors, developers, redevelopers, and professional consultants, along with any group or business entity who provides or receives services, or enters into contracts with the Borough.
“At a time when some in public office want to allow undocumented workers to obtain drivers licenses and other benefits, we’re enacting a local law that protects the rights of legal workers, and ensures that government contracts are entered into honestly, legally, and with the public’s best interest in mind.” Mayor Reiman stated.“It allows us to ensure that our contractors or anyone providing any sort of paid service to the Borough, is staffed by workers who receive fair wages, pay taxes, and participate in the U.S. social security system.”
There are an estimated 20 million undocumented workers residing in the United States, which has a total population of 305,739,000. Based on the average household income tax statistics for 2008, these workers represent an approximate loss of $89 billion in federal income taxes – 7.2% of the total federal income tax revenue for 2008. Respectively, there are an estimated 400,000 undocumented workers residing in the state of New Jersey. This represents a state income tax loss of approximately $398,000,000 – 4.6% of the state’s total income tax revenue.
According to Carteret Law Director Bob Bergen, the ordinance would obligate business partners of the Borough to sign an affidavit of participation in E-Verify. Violators could be subjected to daily municipal fines, cancellation of contracts, as well as criminal sanctions that include perjury.
The proposed Ordinance was approved at its introduction on January 15, and is scheduled for final adoption on Thursday, February 5th, at 6:00 p.m.. The meeting will be held at the Memorial Municipal Building, 61 Cooke Avenue, in the Council Chambers.
Mayor Reiman added, “This is a fundamental policy difference we have with other levels of government; the enforcement of laws and regulations related to undocumented workers and illegal aliens is a basic responsibility of the federal government. To the extent that they are not doing their job and protecting the American taxpayers, then we will do our part to ensure some level of protection if at least at the local level. Any person or any entity that receives taxpayer funded benefits will be required to participate – from the local redeveloper to a mom and pop store receiving a business assistance grant.”