A Santa Clarita City Councilman wants to ensure that if day laborers are doing work for the city, they are legal residents of the country.
On Jan. 24, Councilman Cameron Smyth requested standards to ensure that contractors who provide service to the city are not hiring undocumented immigrants.
“We don’t contract with vendors that do other things that are illegal,” he said, adding that the practice hurts employees as well, with reports of undocumented workers going unpaid by unscrupulous contractors.
To ensure everything is above board in “our little piece of the world,” city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said city attorneys are reviewing the city’s loitering and trespassing ordinances.
City Attorney Joe Montes was unavailable for comment Monday.
Officials at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are looking into options for enforcing legal hiring practices.
At this point, Sheriff’s Capt. Patti Minutello said if an individual is arrested and transferred to a downtown Los Angeles jail, their citizenship status is verified by trained deputies.
“We want to target people who are a threat to the community,” she said.
Checking citizenship in Santa Clarita is a touchy subject, she said, “because we want to build a trusting relationship with residents.”
While the city is reviewing loitering ordinances, Minutello said there are no loitering laws sheriff’s deputies can enforce.
Individuals can be cited if they are in the street and blocking traffic.
In the past, residents and businesses have complained that day laborers waiting on the sidewalk are discouraging to business and leave behind litter.
“We don’t go a week,” Smyth said Jan. 24, “without concerns (being raised) about day laborers.”
He also pointed to Costa Mesa, where the police department has begun working in concert with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so when an arrest is made the person’s citizenship status is verified.
In December, Costa Mesa voted to train police officers to help enforce immigration laws, a step that a handful of forces nationwide have taken since a federal law allowing it, was passed in 1996.
Currently, municipalities have the option of enforcing immigration law, though a handful of immigration reform bills being considered by Congress would make it mandatory.