New Utah immigration screening worries both sides
Leaders on both sides of debate say new bill won't force illegals from state
Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino, also said Hispanic U.S. citizens and those here legally with green cards have too-often been rejected by E-Verify because of problems in how uncommon names were spelled, or because they forgot to update their Social Security number or driver's license with a married name.
Ruiz said the law imposes additional burdens on already stressed businesses. So, "companies with 15 employees may choose to fire one of their employees just not to have to deal with compliance of this law. Companies that were about to hire the 15th employee many choose not to."
He added that some companies may simply avoid Hispanics "to be on the safe side," or use subcontractors instead of hiring more employees. Ruiz added that "some companies with plans to move into Utah may see the additional burden" and "may choose to just move somewhere else."
Also, Ruiz said businesses that sell anything to the estimated 110,000 illegal immigrants in Utah "will inevitably lose revenue," as the immigrants stop spending as freely amid employment fears created by the bill.
Yapias said he worries that the new law could also make it easier for unscrupulous employers not to pay illegal immigrants for work they perform.
"We've seen an increase in that sort of thing," he said. With the new law, Yapias said, "Employers may let someone work for a week or two, and then ask so see their papers and then don't pay them. They may threaten to call immigration."
Yapias added, "There are some employers who are professionals at it, and live by 'free-labor' work."
Finally, Ruiz said, "The vast majority of those in the Hispanic community, who are mostly legal residents, oppose the law." He said they believe "it will not only take away jobs from honest people, but throw them on the street to live from welfare or crime and create a bigger problem."
He added, "It will also increase the tension between recent immigrants and their families and the mainstream community. The community, both documented and undocumented, feel uncomfortable, threatened, harassed and somewhat persecuted by the array of laws being passed."
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