FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. John Galloway
Galloway reintroduces eVerify legislation
'These bills will are about saving Pennsylvania jobs'
HARRISBURG, Jan. 31 – State Rep. John Galloway today reintroduced his eVerify legislation that would save Pennsylvania construction jobs by requiring contractors to verify the employment eligibility of their employees.
"These are job-saving bills that would protect taxpaying Pennsylvanians from losing their construction jobs to illegal immigrants," said Galloway, D-Bucks.
House Bill 379 would require state contractors and subcontractors that work on public projects to verify the employment eligibility of their employees. House Bill 380 would require all contractors in the construction industry to verify the employment eligibility of their employees. Both bills would require use of the Social Security Number Verification Service to verify existing employees and the E-Verify Program for newly hired employees. Contractors that violate these rules could be barred from state projects or, in the case of private construction work, may face forfeiture of state licenses or certifications.
Galloway said the practice of hiring undocumented construction workers hurts everyone:
1. Well-trained Pennsylvania construction workers, who lose their jobs or are forced to work for less money;
2. Taxpayers, because illegal aliens generally don't pay taxes and yet, because of their low income, they and their families often use social services funded by taxpayers; and contractors who pay workers under the table are not paying payroll taxes; and
3. The construction industry, because contractors hiring illegal workers can take shortcuts with training and safety standards in addition to lowering the pay for all construction workers.
Galloway noted that his eVerify legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House last year, but the state Senate failed to take action on the bills.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that in April 2009, there were between 18,000 and 35,000 illegal construction workers in Pennsylvania.