Prior to a Tuesday evening decision that backed away from requiring city contractors to prove they were hiring documented workers, the city of Georgetown received a letter from LULAC and a lawsuit from the Texas Indigenous Council.
- Read about the lawsuit at the website of the Texas Civil Rights Project
- See KEYE’s report on the council meeting
- And read the letter from LULAC below
League of United Latin American Citizens
January 22, 2008
Georgetown City Council
Dear Council Members:
I serve as the Co-District Director for LULAC District 7, which includes Williamson county. Our District has very active Councils in Williamson county and we are therefore interested in issues affecting the area. It is my understanding that the Georgetown City Council, in response to a request from Councilman Brainard and upon the recommendation of the City Attorney, tonight will consider passing an item which will require that city contracts and bids contain a clause regarding the legal status of employees in companies that do business with the city. Such clause would include language stating that the bidder/respondent is in compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C.A. § 1324a] relating to the hiring of unauthorized aliens.” City contractors that were found to be in violation of the clause could be deemed in breach of contract with the City.
While I understand the concerns that some Council persons and community members may have in regards to the hiring of undocumented workers, it is not the responsibility of the City to enforce federal immigration laws. I respectfully discourage the Council from passing any item which would institute the above referenced language or similar language. As you are aware, enforcement of federal immigration laws is not the responsibility of municipal governments. Such has been challenged in cities throughout the country, including Texas, and such laws have been struck down. While it may seem “politically expedient” to pass this item, it is not a wise decision. How will the City enforce such a clause? Will the City hire monitors to do such? Has an analysis has been done on the costs of enforcing such? The City should study this issue and court rulings at length before going forward on this issue.
I also ask each of you to examine your actions. Do you do business with companies that hire undocumented workers? It is a reality in the U.S., especially in Texas, that employers hire undocumented workers due to the failure of Congress to address the issue. You must also know, if you have studied the research of U.S. Census Director – Dr. Steve Murdoch, that it is actually a sign of a healthy economy to have a large population of undocumented workers residing and working in a community. Undocumented workers contribute to the success of the local economy. Unfortunately, some individuals choose to ignore these facts and vilify undocumented workers, while they and their family and friends hire them and or do business with companies that employ undocumented workers. The reality is that it would be almost impossible to find a businesses in Texas, and yes in Georgetown too, that does not hire undocumented individuals.
Before you seriously consider passing the above referenced item, please do more research and more inner searching on this issue. I am available to meet and discuss such at your convenience. . . . I appreciate you taking the time to ready my letter and to give deliberation to the contents.
Rita D. Gonzales-Garza
LULAC District 7