Attempts to crack down on illegal immigration in San Juan Capistrano are being reversed at the state level.
Among a pile of bills signed into law this weekend in Sacramento is one that limits the ability of local governments to use E-Verify, an electronic employment verification system.
The law, penned by a Cupertino assemblyman, bars cities, counties, special districts and the state from forcing employers to use E-Verify, unless required to do so by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds.
The Employment Acceleration Act of 2011 could quash a proposal by a San Juan City Councilman to make employers use E-Verify a condition for obtaining a business license in the city. The new state law could also force the repeal of an existing ordinance that requires contractors who do business with San Juan Capistrano to use the verification system.
"We absolutely need to revisit" Capistrano's E-Verify ordinance, "and change anything that's not in compliance," City Manager Karen Brust said.
The text of AB 1236 cites various reasons why E-Verify should not be mandated, including that the system doesn’t meet requirements for accurate verification; that it slows down the hiring process; and that it increases the costs of doing business in a difficult economic climate.
Political activists aligned with Capistrano Common Sense, however, have repeatedly told local officials they want E-Verify to be a citywide requirement. Some believe San Juan Capistrano has become a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.
Various proposals have popped up to use E-Verify in Capistrano in the past few years. Most recently, City Councilman Derek Reeve's E-Verify proposal was supposed to be heard by the City Council on Oct. 4, , saying there were moves afoot in Sacramento and Washington that might affect his proposal.
Reeve called Gov. Jerry Brown unpredictable and said he anticipated bring his proposal back to the council in January.
The E-Verify Program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the United States Social Security Administration, enables participating employers to verify that employees they hire are authorized to work in the United States.
The Employment Acceleration Act of 2011 states that cities cannot mandate E-Verify’s use even as a condition for receiving a government contract or as a condition of applying for or maintaining a business license.
Bryan Singh, a spokesman for Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), said the new law forces some local municipalities to repeal their ordinances.
that, with the exception of instances covered by federal law, Lake Elsinore and Wildomar are among the cities that might need to revamp their E-Verify laws.
In December, the Wildomar City Council adopted Ordinance 57, which mandates that contractors awarded city contracts enroll in the E-Verify program; subcontractors are also required to participate.