Blunt Ousts Contractor Who Hired Illegal Workers
Announces Joint Enforcement Action with State Agencies
JEFFERSON CITY–Following a state employee’s tip that tonight led to the detainment of dozens of suspected illegal immigrants, Gov. Matt Blunt today ousted a state contractor who hired illegal workers and ordered state agencies to enact a no tolerance policy through tough new contract protections.
“I will not tolerate illegal activity, immigration or otherwise, among our state contractors,” Blunt said. “I commend our Housekeeping Manager Vernon Morris, whose keen attention ultimately led to the detainment of suspected illegal workers. His efforts, coupled with new expertise now available through the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) played a significant role in helping to uncover the suspected illegal workers. Enacting tough new contract language will send a clear signal to all contractors: if you knowingly hire illegal workers, the state of Missouri will not do business with you.”
Blunt cancelled the state’s contract with Sam’s Janitorial Services and barred them from doing further business with the state after local and federal law enforcement agencies identified dozens of suspected illegal immigrants working under falsified documents. Vernon Morris, a state employee who serves as the Housekeeping Manager, first noticed inconsistencies in the contract staff’s documents and tipped off the Capitol Police. The Blunt Administration immediately reached out to the U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Office as state law enforcement worked with MIAC to identify illegal workers.
The governor immediately took action and by executive order tonight directed state agencies to audit all contractors to ensure that the contract employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S. and to terminate contracts if it is determined a contractor employs illegal immigrants. He further directed that tough new provisions be included in all future state contracts to allow the state to immediately cancel contracts if it determines the contractor knowingly has employees not eligible to work in the U.S. [emphasis added]. The new provisions will further require all contractors to certify that all their employees meet state and federal employment eligibility requirements. The new contract language will ensure that Missouri may always cancel contracts when illegal employment practices are uncovered.
After an almost two month investigation, a joint enforcement operation was initiated this evening. ICE and local law enforcement detained suspected illegal workers from Sam’s Janitorial Services’ when they came into work this evening. After questioning, illegal immigrants will be transported and detained in Kansas City before they are returned to their home country.
Sam’s Janitorial Services is operated out of Oklahoma. The contractor provided services in nine state office buildings in Jefferson City. Their first contract with the state was awarded in 2001.
My thoughts: The Utah Legislature failed to act on a bill (which would have placed similar requirements on state contracts). Further, it is doubtful Utah’s Governor Huntsman would actually care that state tax money is going to illegal immigrants and their employers.