Springfield Business E-Verify Hiring Ordinance (February 2012)

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A Springfield Business E-Verify Hiring Ordinance measure was on the February 7, 2012 ballot in the city of Springfield which is in Greene County.

This measure was approved

  • YES 8,247 (50.68%)Approveda
  • NO 8,026 (49.32%)[1]

This measure will make it that any business hiring new employees must use the E-Verify system in order to ensure that new workers are legal and able to work in the country. The ordinance will also implement a fine if a business is caught hiring illegal workers. The City council had three versions of the ordinance, they decided on the second revision for the ballot language, the deadline to place it on the ballot was November 28. The Ozarks Minutemen had brought this issue to the city in the form of an initiative petition, though the city changed the wording of the ballot measure.[2]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Shall the City of Springfield make it unlawful for any business entity, that is any person or group of persons performing or engaging in any activity, enterprise, profession or occupation for gain, benefit, advantage or livelihood whether for profit or not-for-profit located or operating in the City of Springfield, to knowingly hire, recruit, dispatch, permit or instruct any person who does not have the legal right or authorization to work (including, but not limited to, being hired full- or part-time for a job, talk, employment, provision of labor or personal services) due to an impediment in any provision of federal, state or local law, including but not limited to, a minor disqualified by non-age, or an unauthorized alien as defined by the United States Code Title 8 subsection 1324a (h) (3). Further, all businesses in the City of Springfield are required to participate in E-Verify to verify the eligibility of all workers and conditional hires to work in the United States. Any business found by the Director of Finance for the City of Springfield to be violating this ordinance may face penalties ranging from suspension of the violator’s business permit, suspension of the violator’s business license for three (3) business days for the first such violation, a fine up to $499 and suspension of the violator’s business license for 20 business days for the second offense, a fine up to $499 and a 30-business-day suspension of the violator’s business license for the third offense, and a revocation of the violator’s business license for the fourth offense?[3][4]

Opponents

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce had stated its opposition to this measure, noting that the measure itself was illegal as the proposed ordinance would appear to violate state laws already in place. The Chamber also noted that there does not seem to be an issue with a large amount of illegals in the city so the measure didoes not seem needed, noting that this is a federal and not a local issue. The last point was that this measure could also hurt small businesses as they would not have the persons needed to implement the system causing them to lose business.[5]

The NAACP also had noted their opposition to this measure, stating that in their opinion this measure could lead to racial profiling and that employers should not be required to use the system.[6]

Those opposed to this measure had outspent those in favor. The opposition had spent ten times more money on their campaign than those in favor. Opponents had spent near $20,000 on their campaign, mostly on printed materials for residents and phone calls to residents. Local residents had been donating as well as the Service Employees International Union.[7]

Proponents

The main group in favor of passing this measure was the group that got the issue on the ballot, the Ozark Minutemen who had raised $1,800 for their campaign which they had mostly spent on radio adds.[7]

Aftermath

An injunction has been placed on the measure, a court deemed the measure illegal, therefore businesses are not obligated to comply with this ordinance. Those who had been proponents of the measure are urging the city to fight the injunction but the city has noted that many of the items proposed in the ordinance do not comply with state laws and therefore the judge was correct in ordering an injunction. The issue is still being decided.[8]

Additional reading

References