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Officials: ‘Hands tied’ on immigration

Hartselle’s city leaders are calling on the State Legislature to address the problem of illegal aliens but concede current laws prohibit them from doing much more.
The City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night calling on the State Legislature to “give (its) immediate attention to the illegal alien issue…for the purpose of drafting and passing legislation addressing this most serious matter.”
The resolution does not spell out any specific goals or matters the city would like to see addressed. It does say the city has “very limited authority to address the issue on its own.”
The resolution, drafted by City Attorney Larry Madison, is in response to a request by Ray Lawrimore and David Woods to require those wanting to work on city projects to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure all their workers are here legally.
Madison said the city doesn’t have the legal right to require companies to verify status on its workers.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley said the city’s hands are tied when it comes to many issues related to illegal immigrants.
“We’ve passed a resolution asking the state to address it and that’s about all we can do,” he said. “State law limits what we can do. We can’t require all businesses to use E-Verify. We can’t require contractors to do it either.”
Similar immigration-related issues, such as housing limitations, have also plagued city leaders.
E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares the Social Security number on the employee’s I-9 form with a list of valid numbers. Some states, such as Arizona and Mississippi, require most companies to use E-Verify on employees. E-Verify is also required for many employers working on federal contracts.
Its reach is limited, however. All E-Verify can do is ensure the number is a valid one, it cannot guarantee it is the actual number of the person using it.