News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2007

Decatur resolution to remind city about penalty for hiring illegals

By Chris Paschenko · 340-2442

The Decatur City Council is considering a resolution that reminds employers they could lose city contracts if they knowingly hire illegal aliens.

The resolution under consideration isn’t new to the city. City Attorney Herman Marks said the city already has a policy that denies contracts to those who knowingly hire aliens unauthorized to work in the United States.

“We’re adding language to focus on it,” Marks said. “We’re not adding an additional burden to them. This deals with contracts of various entities that are expected to comply with federal law.”


Councilmen Ronny Russell and Gary Hammon said Friday they support the resolution that affirms a city policy of refusing to enter into contracts with business owners who knowingly violate federal law.

“A story ran some time back about Athens passing a similar ordinance,” Russell said.

“I was contacted by a number of constituents requesting that Decatur pass such a policy. Decatur already followed the policy, but there seemed to be such a high level of concern, I thought a public reminder was in order.”

Hammon said the measure is not against legal immigration.

“There is an attempt to paint people opposed to illegal immigration as anti-immigration,” Hammon said.

“I’ve never met anyone opposed to immigration. Most of the county is a mixture of Indians and immigrants. If you go back far enough, Indians were immigrants from Siberia.”

Mayor Don Kyle said Decatur expects people who do business with the city to comply with federal law.

“I don’t think (federal) laws have changed a whole lot since I was in business,” Kyle said. “Employees are supposed to confirm legal employment anyway. We’re just affirming that we’re trying to conform with federal law that exists today.”

Whether employers will lose contracts if they unknowingly hire unauthorized workers is uncertain.

“There’s no way I’m going to pontificate on all the potential occurrences,” Marks said. “The main thing we’re talking about is if they should have known.”

Active investigation?

Will the city actively investigate to determine if contractors have hired unauthorized workers?

“I don’t want to shortchange what the city will do,” Marks said. “Employers are supposed to be doing it anyway.”

The council could discuss the matter at its Monday agenda meeting and vote on the issue May 21.

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