Thursday, December 15, 2011
IMPORTANT DEADLINE FOR ALABAMA'S NEW IMMIGRATION ACT FAST APPROACHING
An important deadline for Alabama's strict new Immigration Act is fast approaching. Specifically, Section 9 of the Act, which applies to businesses who receive any contract, grant or incentive awards from the State, or any county or municipality (or any subdivision of those governmental entities), goes into effect on January 1, 2012. Section 9 includes specific requirements and violations carry harsh penalties, including the possible permanent revocation of your business licenses and permits.
What does Section 9 require? As a condition for the award of any contract, grant, or incentive by the state, or a county or municipality:
- the business entity or employer shall not knowingly employ, hire for employment, or continue to employ an unauthorized alien;
- the business entity shall provide to the government a sworn affidavit stating that it does not knowingly employ, hire for employment, or continue to employ an unauthorized alien;
- the business entity shall provide to the government documentation establishing that it is enrolled in the E-Verify program;
- the business entity shall, during the performance of the contract, participate in the E-Verify program and verify every employee that is required to be verified according to federal rules and regulations;
- subcontractors on a project paid for by contract, grant, or incentive award are also required to enroll in the E-Verify program and attest that they do not knowingly employ, hire for employment, or continue to employ an unauthorized alien.
An important safe harbor of Section 9 provides that a contractor of any tier shall not be liable under this section when a subcontractor violates the law if the contractor receives a sworn affidavit from the subcontractor attesting that the subcontractor has, in good faith, complied with the law.
Another safe harbor provision provides that a business entity or employer that enrolls in the E-Verify program and provides documentation of enrollment shall not be found to be in violation of the law.
If you do business with either the State or with a County or Municipal government, you should take steps now to ensure compliance with the law. As stated in the Act: “Compliance with this section may be verified by the state authorities or law enforcement at any time.”
Note also that all employers, regardless of whether they have any contract, grant or incentive from the government, will be required to sign up for and begin using E-Verify by April 1, 2012.