Audio: New employment requirements for immigrant workers proposed in Missouri House

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(Missourinet) – A bill being considered in the Missouri House would create new requirements for immigrant workers.

The proposal from Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis County requires private employers to verify the eligibility of every worker hired after the business enrolls in the federal work authorization program. His bill would add private employers to the list, as public employers are already required to enroll.



He told a House committee that this would set up a registry within the state where workers must register.

“Unscrupulous subcontractors and contractors hire these people, pay them below scale, and pay them under the table,” Murphy said. “They’re not doing this state or anybody else a service. First of all, they don’t pay any taxes, but that’s probably the smallest part. But if we’re going to protect our workers with workers’ compensation and so forth, they have to be paid properly, and they have to be hired properly.”

Violations would include a 120-day license suspension for the business, and subsequent violations would be classified as a Class D felony.

Bridget Walsh Moore, D-St. Louis questioned Murphy on why workers would have to register.

“I mean if no one’s hiring me, then that should be enough, right? It should just be the businesses because you’re putting the onus of registering on people who, as you said, have limited knowledge of the law and have limited language capabilities, who might not know that this is a requirement,” said Moore.

But Murphy responded, “Well if you read this, the onus is really on the employer to ensure they register.”

Marlon Anderson, D-St. Louis, opposed Murphy’s legislation, saying it would negatively impact commerce in the state.

“I see some guy like ‘Hey, I can do mud’ and all that. Like, ‘Okay, I’ll give you $200 for the day,'” said Anderson. “How would that affect my business, assuming he’s an immigrant and undocumented?

“You would be held liable for that,” responded Murphy. “You could lose your license if you wanted to.”

“For one day of hiring a person just to mud?” questioned Anderson.

“You’re breaking the law,” interrupted Murphy.

A Missouri House Committee on Innovation and Technology could vote on the bill soon.

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Anthony Morabith

My previous jobs have taught me the importance of news. My last job I had the opportunity to run a news department in Alaska. There, I learned that people didn’t watch the television or read the newspaper, they only had access to the radio, in fact they depended on it for their daily living. Because news is so important when people still depend on broadcast radio, I learned the importance of reporting with accuracy, honesty and doing so without setting some sort of agenda.