SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – The Springfield city manager said he is praying someone launches a legal challenge to an ordinance requiring employers to use a federal program to check their employees’ immigration status so the city doesn’t have to enforce the proposal.

The Springfield City Council voted Tuesday night to certify the results of the Feb. 7 election in which voters approved the ordinance requiring Springfield businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check employees’ immigration status. Businesses will be subject to fines if they don’t use the system.

Certifying the election means the ordinance cannot be amended for six months and then only by a unanimous vote of the council, The Springfield News-Leader reported .

City officials have repeatedly said that the ordinance, drafted by the Ozarks Minutemen, is likely to be challenged in court because parts of it are illegal and it raises many questions about how the city should enforce it.

“I’m praying that we’ll be sued so there will be a stay on enforcement,” City Manager Greg Burris said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Burris said the city may be able to avoid enforcing sections of the ordinance that are illegal, such as fines forbidden by federal law.

“The challenge is going to be the gray area where something is legal but untenable,” he said.

For example, Burris said, the ordinance requires the city to suspend the business license of any employer found to have workers prohibited by law from working for any reason. The penalty applies if a business doesn’t provide an affidavit to the city that it has enrolled in the E-Verify program, or fails to provide E-Verify paperwork to the city within three days of receiving a complaint.

The ordinance is so broad that it could apply to employers of any size, from a homeowner hiring a housekeeper to a hospital, Burris said.

“How do you shut down a hospital for even one hour? How do you shut down City Utilities?” he asked. “This would obviously be a worst-case scenario, but this is the way the bill approved by voters was written. These are the things we’re trying to work through.”

Although City Attorney Dan Wichmer said the council had an administrative duty to certify that the election was conducted properly, Mayor Jim O’Neal and Councilmen Scott Bailes and Doug Burlison still voted no.

“I will not vote to certify this unless a court of law forces me to,” O’Neal said. Others voted “yes” reluctantly, providing the five votes needed to pass.

O’Neal said the ordinance was “crafted to fit one narrow-minded point of view” and was inaccurately portrayed as a vote on illegal immigration.

“I think (the public) voted for something other than what they’re getting,” he said. “We cannot fix this. It cannot be fixed … It’s just a dark day for the city that we have to go down this road.”

Jerry Wilson, a spokesman for the Ozarks Minutemen, said he was disappointed but not surprised by some of the statements made Tuesday.

“What it sounds like to me is City Council and city staff are looking for ways to make this not work, instead of looking for ways to make the ordinance work,” he said. “Even though this wasn’t a perfect ordinance, it was and is our best opportunity to eliminate the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to Springfield.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (2)
  1. Dave Francis says:

    Why doesn’t Congress revise the original E-Verify plus bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Homeland Security Chairman Peter King(R-NY) in 2005? The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437) had all the stringent enforcement needed? It required the use of E-verify and made it a felony to be in the USA illegally. It also increased penalties for employing illegal workers to $7,500 for first time offenses, $15,000 for second offenses, and $40,000 for all subsequent offenses. It also, caused the housing of removed aliens to become a felony crime. It passed in the House by a vote of 239 to 182, but questionably it didn’t find passage in the Senate?

    The usual stomach churning zealots complained, so REAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT never took center stage, with the combined efforts of a variety of migrant, humanitarian, and religious organizations, and other radical groups. Policies that providing federal or state welfare as UNFUNDED MANDATES forced on all the American population by court order and extorted from your taxes. By neither political party voting for the new mandated version of E-Verify or the Birthright Citizenship bill, millions still attracted by jobs and a free reservoir of welfare programs, will still buy a seat on a international flight as a tourist or just cross that border.

    To some extent revitalized E-Verify, “the Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885) will heavily penalize businesses for hiring illegal aliens, who are stealing jobs from the majority of low income workers. Second in line of Merit is the “Birthright Citizenship Bill (H.R.140) that by Amendment, will prevent the welfare abundance of public welfare check assistance to the illegal parent of a child smuggled or already here, if neither parent is a U.S. Citizen.

    The E-Verify system can identify illegal migrants and immigrants after hiring and unless they can further substantiate their immigration status, they will be dismissed. This is an easy, none evasive and simple way to qualify an applicant, by inputting the personal data in a company terminal. Then to resolve any discrepancy you travel to nearest Social Security office. Mitt Romney has spelled E-Verify out, as “ATTRITION THROUGH ENFORCEMENT—or Self Deportation.

    2005 Enforcement Immigration Law (H.R. 4437)

    Criminalizes violations of federal immigration law, including illegal presence, which indirectly shifts the responsibility of immigration enforcement to state and local law authorities.
    • Expands the definition of “aggravated felony” to include smuggling offenses, illegal entry and reentry crimes.
    • Reduces the maximum period of voluntary departure from 120 to 60 days.
    • Reaffirms states’ “inherent authority” to assist with immigration law enforcement.
    • Requires that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provide a training manual and “pocket guide” relating to enforcement of immigration laws to state and local law enforcement authorities. In addition, DHS is required to make training for state and local law enforcement available “through as many means possible.” Receipt of such training is not a prerequisite for state and local assistance with immigration law enforcement.
    • Authorizes funds for grants to state and local law enforcement for equipment and other products used in enforcing immigration law.
    • Funds in the amount of $1 billion each fiscal year are authorized for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
    • Bars states and localities that prohibit state and local law enforcement of immigration law from receipt of funds otherwise granted to states to reimburse expenses related illegal immigrants.
    • Requires that aliens who violate certain provisions of immigration law (those subject to a removal order, subject to a voluntary departure agreement, anyone who has overstayed an I-94, and anyone whose visa has been revoked) be listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
    Border Security
    • Provides for a variety of new technology to assist DHS in monitoring ports of entry and land borders.
    • Establishes a Border Security Advisory Committee that includes representatives of state and local government.
    • Allows homeland security grants funds to be used to support border enforcement activities.
    • Provides for additional fencing to be constructed along the U.S. – Mexico Border and calls for a study to examine the construction of a fence along the Northern/Canadian Border.
    Worksite Enforcement and Employer Verification
    • Establishes an electronic/phone system employment verification process and requires participation by all employers.
    • Requires re-verification of all previously hired employees under the new system. Federal, state and local governments would have met this requirement within three years of enactment of the legislation.
    • Increases civil penalties for hiring individuals without employment authorization.
    • Expands requirements for employment verification to day-laborer sites.

    There is so much corruption in Washington, which is why illegal entry is not a felony. Doesn’t this to all of us, that Washington DC has no intention of approving any real immigration enforcement? That we must keep paying for everybody who flies in from anywhere, or climbs the fence or just parts simple barbed rusty wire?

    • There is only one cure for the corruption in federal agencies and that is joining the TEA PARTY. Thousands of fraudulent programs will be exposed and billions of dollars will be saved. This confronts the rot that has entered the Democratic and the Republican parties, and the astronomical deficit that America is suffering from. Read some unrevealed evidence at Judicial Watch, that is a legal non-profit website. Judicial Watch is the opposite of the Communist backed ACLU; a panderer to the illegal alien invaders. In addition, NumbersUSA gives you in depth analysis of costs to taxpayers and insider news from Congress. Lastly, the positive controversial website of “American Patrol” gives you one-click bridging news editions to the nationwide media, where the truth prevails in articles suppressed by the overwhelming Liberal press. It is only new TEA PARTY leaders will reveal the corrupt in Congress and return us to a small efficient government, with no free crony handouts to wealthy donors.

    Join your chapter of your local TEA PARTY. Only the TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP has the backbone to shred the current tax code and provide a fair and equitable tax system, without any loopholes for anybody. Every possible means available currently and in the future will be utilized to secure our borders, to halt Sanctuary Cities, Chain Migration, but adopt a regulated Guest Worker program, without a path to citizenship. It is solely the obligation of every American voter to check for non citizens registering for all future elections. That every person voting must display official Picture ID, as there has been progressive voting by non citizens.
    Everybody is complaining about both parties in Washington, but cannot find a few minutes to contact their Senators or Congress persons at 202-224-3121 and demand the vote for both federal mandatory E-Verify or amend the ‘Birthright Citizenship’ Bill. Once enacted into law a massive exodus will commence, as illegal aliens and family members will return to their country of origin.

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