O'Fallon declares intent to enforce immigration laws

2011-09-09T11:15:00Z 2011-09-09T11:19:53Z O'Fallon declares intent to enforce immigration lawsBy Raymond Castile > rcastile@yourjournal.com stltoday.com
September 09, 2011 11:15 am  • 

O'Fallon is now a "Rule of Law" city when it comes to immigration enforcement.

The City Council on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution declaring O'Fallon a "Rule of Law" city, asserting a policy of strict enforcement of existing state and federal immigration laws.

Sponsored by councilmen Jim Pepper, Ward 2, and Bob Howell, Ward 4, the resolution states O'Fallon is not, and has no intention of becoming, a 'sanctuary city."

Beginning with Los Angeles in 1979, more than 30 cities across the United States have declared themselves 'sanctuary cities," prohibiting police and city employees from asking people about their immigration status, and denying city funds for use in enforcing federal immigration laws.

The O'Fallon resolution points city policy in the opposite direction. It states the city will not hinder or restrict employee communication with federal officials regarding the immigration status of individuals. It also instructs police officers to cooperate with state and federal officials regarding immigration enforcement, and asserts the city will not provide public benefits to illegal immigrants.

The resolution announces O'Fallon will enroll in an electronic verification system to determine whether laborers have legal authorization to work in the United States. Any business with a city contract totaling more than $5,000 will be required to use the electronic verification program and sign an affidavit affirming it does not knowingly employ anyone who is an "unauthorized alien."

Pepper and Howell are also sponsoring a bill that would punish businesses that hire illegal immigrants. The bill, which has not been formally introduced, would impose fines and license suspensions on businesses caught employing illegal immigrants.

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