The issue of illegal immigration returns to the table Thursday evening when the Payson Town Council discusses an amendment to business license requirements.
If the new code passes, business license applicants will be required to sign an affidavit "stating under oath that the applicant has reviewed the employment records for the business and that all
employees currently working in the business's Payson location are United States Citizens, permanent resident aliens or persons otherwise lawfully in the United States."
In January, the Town Council directed staff to come up with an ordinance to eliminate the hiring of undocumented workers in Payson.
Mayor Bob Edwards said amending the business code was a legally sound solution.
Through the code change, businesses will be "required to (hire) legal workers to get a license and maintain it to keep the license," he said.
Edwards said contractors will be required to have their business license numbers posted on their vehicles, as well as have an I-9 for all of their employees.
The Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) is the form required by the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to document eligibility for employment in the United States.
"Anytime we get a complaint, we will send someone out to check on it," Edwards said, mentioning there could be a town employee whose job responsibilities would include ensuring all people are following the ordinance.
The penalty for violating any portion of the business-licensing ordinance, according to the proposed code change, would include fines and loss of license.
The proposed amendment reads:
- Any person, firm, company or corporation convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, subject to the revocation of the business license and a fine not to exceed $20,000 for businesses and $2,500 for individuals.
- Each separate day during which the violation continues shall be construed as a separate offense with the same penalties.
- Any individual or business convicted of any provisions shall be assessed all costs and expenses related to the investigation and prosecution of such violations.
Edwards said if the first reading passes on Thursday, the council will have a second reading March 15. If the second reading passes, it would become law 30 days later.