The City of Santa Maria will be implementing a new system for determining the eligibility of city worker applicants. The internet database known as E-Verify—a free service created by the Department of Homeland Security—was unanimously voted-in by the City Council on April 6, for a six-month trial period. It is intended for employers to use when hiring new employees.
The Central Coast Minuteman Civil Defense Corps was seeking to have E-Verify become a mandatory for all private businesses and vendors in Santa Maria. However, this was not supported by the City Council and will not be enforced. Nor will it be used to investigate the eligibility of current city employees; only new hires.
PUEBLO (People United for Economic Justice Building Community Through Organizing), based in Santa Barbara County, whose organizers described it as “a nationwide group that focuses on maintaining the stability and prosperity of communities,” strongly opposes the E-Verify system. Executive Director Belen Seara claimed that policies like E-Verify “hurt workers and the local economy.” She said, “Failed attempts throughout California unequivocally demonstrate that cities cannot legislate their way past the immigration system’s current failures. The Santa Maria City Council realized that last night,” she added. “Santa Maria demands just and humane immigration reform, not policies that will continue to further divide an already polarized community.”