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Senate OKs Sessions' proposal on illegals

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved a proposal by U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, to prevent companies that hire illegal aliens from receiving government contracts.

Under Sessions' amendment to the Senate minimum wage bill, approved 94-0, companies with government contracts that have hired illegal aliens would be banned from receiving future government contracts for 10 years.

Companies with illegal aliens on their payrolls not already holding federal contracts would be prohibited from obtaining future contracts for seven years.

Companies that use the government-provided automated electronic verification system, called the Basic Pilot Program, to verify the legal status of their employees would be protected from the ban.

All federal agencies and members of Congress are required to use the program under current law.

Waive the ban

The government could waive the ban if the waiver were necessary for national defense or security purposes, according to Sessions' amendment.

"We cannot have a discussion on minimum wage without recognizing the negative impact of illegal immigration on the salaries of American workers," Sessions said. "Contractors need to be held accountable for not hiring Americans."

- Franklin Harris

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