This deals with both illegal immigrant identity theft and general social security number only identity theft by fugitives etc. CitizensForTaxFairness.org is still pursuing this issue and needs your help to convince the Huntsman
administration that cheap labor is not worth letting your taxes go to those stealing children’s identities (especially, fugitive pedophiles).
I was able to get a couple of statements from Huntsman’s head of purchasing (Mr. Douglas Richins). I’ll excerpt the pertinent bits. The first is an e-mail sent to the chair of a key legislative committee (PDF) regarding a proposed law (HB 127) to require government contractors who receive taxpayer funds to verify the social security numbers of their new hires:
1. Potential suppliers/contractors will withdraw from doing business with the state because of the requirements of subscribing to this “voluntary federal program”.The state will lose because of the reduction in competition. Note, they will withdraw – not because they hire illegal immigrants – but because they don’t want to be obligated to subscribe to a complex federal program.
This is entirely laughable. Especially considering the fact the Utah Departments of Health and Workforce services already use basically the same “complex” federal program with great success. Furthermore, Colorado, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Arizona (just enacted) require all employers to verify employment eligibility and social security numbers. Idaho and Missouri also require verification (limited to State and its contractors). Additionally, as of March, “14,834 employers were participating, including 247 federal, state and local government offices” use the program (I’m sure this number has increased).
According to Mr. Richins, Idaho et al. must be crumbling under the massive burden of not being able to find a contractor. Let’s face it, his argument holds no water at all, it is simply a PC way of stating that we don’t want to loose the cheap bidders (“reduction in competition”). He also fails to state how the program is complex – it’s not.
The remaining six arguments also fail (and not worth the time to go through each one in detail) as contracts are already long and tedious (and seven pages isn’t make or break, especially when all other potential bidders must comply – Idaho etc seem to be doing fine). Maybe his attorney should look at how they implemented their legislation or talk with some of the Utah companies or state agencies that use the program. The other points he makes are pure hearsay and in a couple of cases, totally wrong.
In a letter dated July 6, 2007, that was written in response to CitizensForTaxFairness.org’s recent letter to Governor Huntsman, Mr. Richin’s again puts low costs ahead of Utah’s children. I haven’t linked the letter as it has some personal information I would like to redact and it’s in PDF format. Fortunately, the entire argument is below (the rest of the letter is salutary, non substantive stuff).
In his letter, Mr. Richins writes:
There are several methods, including the “Federal Basic Pilot Program,” that contractors may use to insure that their employees are legal residents or legal aliens. At this point, we believe that state government ought not dictate to business the method they validate compliance with federal immigration laws. When it is brought to our attention that any of our state contractors may not be in compliance with any applicable state or federal law, we believe that we have adequate, appropriate and effective contractual remedies.
Wink, wink. He knows as well as all of us that immigration law is barely enforced and we’re hardly catching (let alone, preventing) identity theft. I also, don’t believe for one second, that the Feds or State law enforcement will tell Utah Purchasing if a company they use had an ID thief on staff. Plus, the company can easily (and honestly) deny knowing of the thief. Further, the whole point of the proposed verification program would be to prevent the theft rather than trying to do something after someone has been victimized. I wonder if Mr. Richins can tell us how many contractors using illegal labor have been brought to the attention of the state and what the appropriate action take was.
Mr. Richins was not the only one from the Huntsman’s administration pushing to stop the bill. Luz Robles, from the State Office of Ethnic Affairs, was also lobbying hard on Capitol Hill this last session. At one point, Ms. Robles crept behind legislators during the committee hearing on Rep. Sandstrom’s bill (HB 127). Apparently, she convinced enough committee members to run and hide that there was not enough to form a quorum to vote on the bill (audio is available here). I recommend listening to the whole hearing but the announcement about the lack of quorum is at 15:00. Conveniently, because they didn’t have a quorum, the committee members (list of members) didn’t have to go on the record with a vote on the bill. (Note: This was the second time they refused to vote on the bill – which they are elected to do. The first time it was heard, they voted simply to move on to the next agenda item).
The Utah Office of Ethnic affairs also used their taxpayer funded website to track legislation including HB 127 (a bill strictly dealing with employment verification and identity theft) as well as all other bills that would have negatively impacted ILLEGAL aliens.. The listing of the bills is still available on the Legislative Issues page.
Now would be a good time to contact Governor Huntsman (800-705-2464) and Mr. Richins (801-538-3143 or email – found off the handy, dandy state directory) and politely ask why they put priority on low bids rather than your and/or your child’s identity and why they they are using taxpayer money to assist identity theft. For a family friendly state, Utah is certainly behind the other states who have taken steps to protect their citizens from illegal alien and fugitive driven identity theft.