BOISE – Idaho lawmakers were stunned on Monday when sweeping immigration legislation that would have placed a stranglehold on immigrants, employers and even the government died in committe.
The proposal would have penalized employers who hire illegal worker, penalize “sanctuary cities” and require driver’s license tests to be in English.
After a stressful three-hour hearing that saw much testimony on both side the bill, SB 1303, lost on a 7-2 vote.
The drafter of the bill Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri-Kansas City law said it would have created jobs immediately “if a hiring decision that would have gone to an illegal alien goes to a U.S. citizen.” But Ken McClure, attorney for the Milk Producers of Idaho, told the panel, “People do not flock and stand waiting on line for work as milkers in dairies.”
A lobbyist for the Idaho Business Coalition for Immigration Reform,Brent Olmstead, testified against the bill. “The domestic work force no longer wants to do a lot of these jobs, even with a 10 percent unemployment rate,” Olmstead told the committee. “It is our experience in Idaho that the domestic labor force in Idaho is not applying for manual labor positions.”
According to Olmstead, as a result of the Idaho worker's desire not to do manual work , employers are have come to rely primarily on a foreign-born work force, He also commented that but he said there’s an inadequate federal system for bringing in such guest workers legally. “The federal system is broken,” Olmstead said adamantly.
Jorgenson’s bill would have required employers to use the federal “e-Verify” system to check on the immigration status of an employee.
Earlier, a House committee killed legislation from Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, again aimed at penalizing employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers. One immigration bill left standing , SB 1271, would make it a crime act to use false documents for employment; it’s still awaiting a Senate committee hearing.