Pilot Program Will Certify That No Illegals Work Here
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
January 09, 2007
(CNSNews.com) – An immigration reform group planned to launch a new program in Phoenix, Ariz., on Tuesday to certify that businesses are voluntarily complying with laws against employing illegal aliens. If the effort is successful, it could spread nationwide, the group said.
“Americans understand that businesses that hire illegal aliens are at the root of this nation’s illegal immigration crisis,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), in a statement announcing the launch of the “FAIR Approved” program.
Stein said the pilot effort is aimed at giving consumers a choice.
“In much the same way that millions of concerned citizens will go out of their way — and even spend a little bit more — to buy products that protect the environment, we believe law-abiding citizens will make the effort to support businesses in their communities that refuse to hire illegal aliens,” he said.
“The FAIR Approved program will monitor participating businesses and certify that they are complying with laws against hiring illegal aliens, allowing consumers to support businesses that are truly supporting the community and their own values,” Stein added.
Susan Tully, national field director for FAIR, said the program will allow participating employers to display a sign that reads: “I am FAIR approved. We verify work status. Only authorized U.S. workers here.”
“We’re going to have people go door to door to the businesses that they do business with, asking them to voluntarily sign up for this program and sign up with the federal government to verify all of their employees’ Social Security numbers — and do this on a regular basis,” Tully told Agape Press.
FAIR is launching the new effort in cooperation with business leaders in the Phoenix area.
“We in the business community see FAIR Approved as a win-win proposition,” said one of them, Rusty Childress. “As businesspeople, we are obviously interested in making a profit, but as members of this community, we recognize that we have a responsibility to our employees and our customers.
“I encourage other businesspeople in this area to become part of an effort that will be both profitable and civically responsible,” Childress stated. “I believe that the vast majority of business owners want to do the right thing.
“FAIR Approved is an innovative way for them to become part of the solution to the problem of mass illegal immigration, while at the same time attracting new customers who appreciate businesses that offer opportunities to American workers,” he noted.
However, Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), told Cybercast News Service on Monday that he was “concerned” about the project for a number of reasons.
“On the one hand, doing business with employers that obey the law is not a bad idea, but it should be all the laws, not just one,” Wilkes said.
“Why don’t they ask if they comply with all the other laws, too, like paying their taxes, minimum wage, workmen’s comp and a whole host of other important laws that impact American citizens much more than immigration?” he asked.
“We’re not for employers hiring illegal workers,” Wilkes stated, but he wondered if the program might be used “as a way to discriminate against people. It sounds like they’re creating a ‘whites only’ atmosphere.”
The LULAC official also questioned the involvement of Childress, who helped promote Proposition 200, an Arizona referendum approved in 2004 that requires individuals to produce proof of citizenship before they may register to vote or apply for public benefits.
Wilkes also referred to Childress as “a colorful fellow” who has been involved with “pretty crazy folks” such as those at the Minuteman project, which LULAC has accused of being “racists” and “cowards.”
Nevertheless, Tully stated that FAIR hopes to try out the program in other cities, such as Tulsa, Okla., Dallas, Tex., and even Hazleton, Pa., which passed an ordinance that imposes penalties on employers who hire illegal aliens and landlords who provide housing for them. “And the ACLU, of course, has tied this up in court,” she said.
Stein added that the federal and state governments must share the blame for the illegal immigration situation the new program was created to address.
/ulnone “The problem has been that the government has refused to enforce laws against employers who undermine American workers by hiring illegal aliens, so most consumers have no idea if the businesses they are patronizing are contributing to the problem,” the FAIR president stated.