Earlier this summer, City Councilman Derek Reeve . Now he is targeting illegal immigration.
He announced Tuesday that he intends to float an ordinance that would require all San Juan Capistrano businesses to use E-Verify, an electronic database maintained by the federal government to ensure that new hires are U.S. citizens.
Using E-Verify, he said, would become a condition of receiving a business license, which are required of everyone from florists to freelance journalists.
"Assume for a moment there is one job opening in San Juan Capistrano with two applicants. One is a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant, while the other is an unauthorized alien," Reeve said in a press release. "Who should get the job? This is what the San Juan Capistrano Right to Work Act will address."
Reeve will need the support of the at least two other City Council members when he brings up his proposal Sept. 20. In July, he failed to convince them that they should ease up on local gun laws and .
San Juan Capistrano already uses E-Verify to check the citizenship of City Hall workers and those of its contractors. In the past, establishing a blanket requirement for all local employers who do business in the city to use E-Verify was not favored by elected officials.
In April 2010, according to the Orange County Register, then-Mayor Lon Uso proposed revoking business licenses for those who didn't follow through after voluntarily promising to use the verification system.
"When this issue was put on the agenda by former council member Lon Uso, the council members at the time (Sam Allevato, Mark Neilsen, Laura Freese and Tom Hribar) refused to support it," wrote resident Kim McCarthy, a member of Capistrano Common Sense, in the political group's July newsletter.
"I find it disgraceful that four of five of our elected leaders in San Juan Capistrano don’t have the will to protect American jobs," she wrote.
Uso, Neilsen and Hribar are no longer city councilmen. In their place sit Reeve, John Taylor and Larry Kramer.
The majority of the new-ish City Council seemed to agree with McCarthy's call for an E-Verify law in February when U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Las Flores) made his annual visit to San Juan Capistrano. , a tool strongly supported by Calvert himself.
Support for local E-Verify laws is varied across California. In January, Murrieta became the fifth Inland Empire city to require employers to use E-Verify as a condition of operating a business. In doing so, it joined the Riverside County communities of Temecula, Lake Elsinore and Menifee.
At that time, Temecula Mayor Jeff Comerchero told the New York Times "we’re a conservative area, and we’ve had an outcry from our citizens ... Americans should be filling American jobs.”
In his press release, Reeve cited bleak statewide jobless figures for young adults, teens, Latinos and blacks, positing that illegal immigrants take away jobs that lower socioeconomic groups badly need.
The state employment development department's latest surveys show California's unemployment rate at 12 percent, well above San Juan Capistrano's 8.3 percent.
Correction: an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Derek Reeve would need four other votes to pass an ordinance mandating businesses use E-Verify.