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Athens Council bans hiring illegal immigrants for city work

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Contractors who want to do business with Athens, listen up.

The Athens City Council voted Monday to require you to verify that you do not knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

That goes for anyone who enters into an agreement with Athens to mow the grass, construct a building, pave a street or provide any other type of service.

If a contractor violates the agreement, the city can terminate the contract.

"It doesn't say we're running an investigation," Councilman Ronnie Marks said. "It's just an effort to move in the right direction to help will illegal alien issues."

Council President Harold Wales said the Police Department, with help from Public Works, will enforce the resolution.

The resolution does not address those who buy a business license in the city to do work in the private sector.

City attorney Shane Black said the legality of doing that is in debate in "courtrooms across the country."

"That's because the federal government has almost exclusive right to immigration issues, which is what those opposed to cities doing that are arguing," Black said.

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