Montana Senate OKs plan to restrict illegal labor

2013-04-23T10:00:00Z 2013-04-23T10:05:19Z Montana Senate OKs plan to restrict illegal laborThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 23, 2013 10:00 am  • 

HELENA — The state Senate moved forward with a plan Monday that would penalize companies that hire workers who live and work in the U.S. illegally.

Under House Bill 297, if a business is caught employing workers who are in the U.S. illegally, the business would be forced to fire those employees. If it fails to do so, the entity would lose its business license.

The bill's opponents said the measure would hurt Montana businesses. Sen. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, warned that companies will "get slapped down by their competition" if the bill becomes law.

The Senate endorsed the measure Monday in an initial party-line vote. It must pass a final vote before moving to Gov. Steve Bullock's office.

The state House previously approved the bill.

It is one of two Republican measures this session aimed at instituting tighter regulations on illegal immigration.

The other, House Bill 50, would have prohibited local governments from establishing policies that say they won't enforce federal illegal immigration laws, but Bullock vetoed it.

Both measures are sponsored by Republican Rep. David Howard, of Park City.

Earlier this year, District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock, of Helena, declined to block a voter-approved law that would require a person to provide proof of citizenship or legal standing to receive state services.

He said that it was unreasonable for people to expect to receive state benefits without showing proof that they are eligible for those benefits.

However, Sherlock blocked enforcement of the law's definition of "illegal alien" as a person who is not a citizen of the U.S. or remains unlawfully in the U.S.

Sherlock said there are circumstances in which an individual can enter the country illegally but remain lawfully.

The lawsuit challenging the initiative is still pending.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. Gustave
    Report Abuse
    Gustave - April 24, 2013 1:20 pm
    I don't believe that Illegal Immigration is not a major issue in Montana. Why don't these idiots spend time on legislation that actually matters to our state not a National Agenda that doesn't pertain much to our state. Think for yourselves, not your National Party.
  2. Lawman
    Report Abuse
    Lawman - April 23, 2013 3:22 pm
    Penalties already exist for a wide range of offenses involving employers who hire workers illegally in the United States. They are called felonies - potential prison time, large fines, and specificied unlawful activity for money laundering (that potential forfeiture of proceeds from the illegal labor).

    A new law with the loss of a business license should be a real deterrent.

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