“Legislation to prevent illegal immigrants from being hired by construction companies took a long time — six years — to make its way through the state Legislature, but the final vote Saturday was lopsided.
Senate Bill 637, by Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, won final approval from the Senate on a vote of 42 to 7. The bill passed the House Thursday, also by a wide bipartisan margin.
The ban on illegal immigrants working on publicly funded construction jobs in Pennsylvania is the product of several years of work by Ms. Ward and Reps. John Galloway, D-Bucks, and Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry. They argued that by hiring “illegal aliens” who have entered the U.S. improperly, contractors are taking construction jobs away from U.S. citizens and immigrants who have the proper papers.
The state Labor and Industry Department will have to check to make sure that all contractors and subcontractors have verified — by checking workers’ Social Security numbers to make sure they aren’t stolen, and by using a federal Homeland Security identification system called E-Verify — that all their workers and prospective workers were born in the U.S. or are here legally.”