UTAH - A recent Department of Homeland Security list of Utah businesses who had registered to use Everify analyzed by members of UFIRE (Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement) discovered that very few Utah government entities had applied. Everify is the DHS 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 (government) employers to register with and use a Status Verification System and award contracts only to companies using such employment verification. Federal law has prohibited hiring of “undocumented” people for many years. The Utah bill simply assisted in bringing enforcement to the state level.
Noting that Utah School Districts, an easily discovered group on the list, showed less than 30% compliance; an Email was sent to all districts with a GRAMA request for information about why they were not registered and the language being used to comply with the contractor requirements.
Within 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.”
Gaylan Stewart, UFIRE member wondered, “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?”
By the end of December, nine additional School Districts have responded to the request stating they had 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 USOE was asked 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.
Robert Wren, UFIRE Chairman, reports that the investigation is continuing and includes other public entities in addition to school districts. The preliminary report on school district compliance is available at www.ufire.net, including all of the email exchanges.
“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." said Wren.