Burns fights for Pa. workers: ‘Stop companies from hiring illegal workers’

HARRISBURG, June 17 – American jobs should be for American workers, not people who are in our country illegally, said state Rep. Frank Burns, who is again championing a measure that would halt construction companies from hiring undocumented workers.

“For years, I have demanded we crack down on companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants who are willing to work for less,” said Burns, D-Cambria. “If we are serious about stopping illegal immigration, then we must stop companies from hiring and exploiting illegal workers for profit.”

Burns acknowledged that for generations immigrants have come to the United States in search of a job; however, he is also aware that illegal immigration is a constant drain on our country’s resources.

According to a 2018 article in The New York Times, undocumented immigrant workers account for 15 percent of those employed in construction – or about 1.35 million workers nationally.

“This bill is about saving Pennsylvania jobs by penalizing unscrupulous contractors who hire illegal workers in our state,” Burns said. “It’s time we hold corporate America accountable for profiting from illegal immigration. 

“Bottom line: E-verify works and has been working well for more than six years here in Pennsylvania. Construction companies must now comply or face stiff penalties, including the loss of their state-issued license.”

The E-verify program, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. In Pennsylvania, more than 17,000 employers have verified more than 630,000 newly hired workers this year.

Burns voted for H.B. 1170, which heads to the state Senate for consideration.