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Businesses tasked to further validate employees’ citizenship

Oceanside — While the Supreme Court is still out on its decision on the Homeland Security E-Verify system that validates employees U.S. citizenship, city council will require businesses contracted with the city to register with the system if the Supreme Court finds its legal.
In the 3-1 vote of approval on April 6, Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no and Mayor Jim Wood was absent during the vote, but expressed his stand against the item.
“I think this is the federal government’s job, not ours,” Wood said.
The system requires businesses to sign up and provide citizenship documentation of their employees. Then feedback lets businesses know if the documentation is valid. City Manager Peter Weiss said the service should come at no cost to the city.
“It’s free easy access to information,” Councilman Gary Felien said. “We as a city should take advantage of this.”
Felien said the system helps avoid discrimination in the workplace.
“It avoids whether someone has too much brown skin or whether someone speaks enough English.”
Some citizens did not see the point of requiring additional screening for citizenship.
“Businesses are required legally under the law to do this within three days,” Jimmy Knott, Oceanside resident, said. “I don’t know why we’re forced to take on federal law. It’s an unfunded mandate with no money to enforce it.”
Problems with privacy and nondisclosure requirements were also concerns.
“My concern is this is not business friendly at all,” Sanchez said. “Employers will need to obtain documents, need to go through an additional steps. There is a lack of safeguards of employees’ personal information. To add an additional step of red tape is not something I will support.”