In a recent list of Utah businesses who had registered to use Everify, members of UFIRE discovered that very few Utah government entities had applied. Everify is the Department of Homeland Securities employment verification database designed to minimize the hiring of illegal aliens.
SB 81, Illegal Immigration, was enacted in 2008, for implementation July 1, 2009. The law required all Utah public employers to register with and use a Status Verification System and to only make contracts with companies using such employment verification.
Noting that Utah School Districts, an easily discovered group on the list, indicated less than 30% compliance; an Email was sent to all of the districts requesting information on why they were not registered and language being used to comply with the contractor requirements.
Within less than 24 hours, five districts responded with information. The first response received was informative: “Prior to reading your email, *** School District was not participating in a status verification system. Upon reviewing the information provided, we have decided to enroll in the E-Verify system and that registration is complete.”
“Why were they not aware of SB 81? Didn't they hear of the two year debate on the issue? Didn't the State Office of Education and the districts' own legal counsel advise them of the requirement?”
Two weeks after the query was sent, nine additional School Districts have applied for Everify bringing the compliance total to over 50%. Two compliant Districts sent their contract language which has been forwarded to those districts lacking any rules for contractors.
An unsolicited Email from the USOE was received stating, ”Just a suggestion from the Utah State Office of Education (USOE)—your list and directives should include the requirement that public charter schools also use everify for their employees. I am certain that most charters schools have never even heard of the process.” A response was made that UFIRE was not able to issue directives and to ask USOE if they were compliant. To date, no answer has been received.
Several Utah legislators have been contacted and are aware on the non compliance and are investigating methods of securing compliance.
The investigation is continuing and includes other public entities in addition to school districts. The complete report on school district SB 81 compliance is available online.
There is no excuse for ignoring SB 81. It is a simple procedure that assists in enforcing Federal law prohibiting the employment of 'undocumented' immigrants. More Utah employers should take advantage of the free system, currently just two percent do.