JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Concerns are raised by some legislators over the enforcement of Mississippi's E-Verify Law. Since the Mississippi Employment Protection Act was passed in 2008, no investigations have been conducted to ensure employers are obeying it.
The law was set up in phases starting with large companies. Right now, businesses with 30 or more employees are required to use the E-Verify system and beginning July 1, 2011 all employers will be required to check the immigration status of their workers.
"I'm anxious to see those who are charged with enforcement be responsible to carry out their duties," said co-author of the E-Verify Law, State Senator Lee Yancy, Brandon (R).
He said he knows people have complained about businesses not following the law yet none of the five state departments charged with enforcing it have conducted a single investigation.
"Whether or not someone may have been called and made a complaint about an alien doing this or that, but it was not an E-Verify complaint. We have had none what so ever," said Stanley Alexander, Director of Public Integrity Division of the Mississippi Attorney General's office.
Spokesmen for the Department of Revenue and the Department of Employment Security said they have not received a single complaint. Some legislators are raising concerns the departments charged with enforcing the law may not understand their role. A spokesperson for the Department of Revenue told WLBT it is not in the business of enforcing immigration laws.
Julia Bryan for DHS gave a statement that read, "If we are notified that a suspected illegal resident is receiving services or has applied for services provided by the DHS, we ask for documentation to prove their status and verify that information through an online system provided by ICE who then reports back to us whether this person is considered legal or illegal. If they are deemed illegal by ICE, we deny services. That is the extent of our role of enforcement from the agency. It is up to ICE on whether they take further action (i.e. deportation or detainment)."
LaRaye Brown for MDES gave this statement, "We're using E-Verify in our WIN Job Centers to determine the eligibility of referred workers as required by the Mississippi Employment Protection Act. MDES has not discovered any violations of the Mississippi Employment Protection Act, but remember, MDES is not a law enforcement agency. If violations of the act are discovered, it's the responsibility of the proper law enforcement agencies to handle the prosecution."
"It's not the legislatures job to be in the enforcement business, but I can assure you those of us that are co-authors of this bill are going to make sure we notify those who are responsible for enforcing it," said Senator Yancy.
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