California Passes Law Making E-Verify Non-Mandatory in the State

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On Sunday, October 9th, 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1236, the Employment Acceleration Act authored by Assembly member Paul Fong (D-Cupertino). The bill ensures that city, county and state government cannot mandate the use of E-Verify on private business owners and would reaffirm that for most private employers, E-Verify is an optional program.

The Act prohibits the state, counties, cities and special districts from mandating that employers use an electronic employment verification program (such as E-Verify), except when required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. The Act’s prohibition on mandating use of an electronic employment verification program specifically applies in the following circumstances:

  • As a condition of receiving a California government contract;
  • As a condition of applying for or maintaining a business license; or
  • As a penalty for violating licensing or other similar laws.

Apart from the Employment Acceleration Act of 2011, Governer Brown also passed the California DREAM Act that makes public financial aid available for the state’s undocumented-immigrant college students. By signing both into law, Gov. Brown fulfilled a campaign promise and sent the state lawmakers a pro-immigrant message. “I think the governor signing both of these bills is an acknowledgement that immigrants are a crucial part of the great state of California,” said Sara Sadhwani, a spokesperson with the advocacy group California Immigrant Policy Center in Los Angeles. “It’s an acknowledgement that we have to both invest in our future economy as well as protect our current economy.”

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