U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown today filed legislation that would require the state Attorney General to receive and document proof of citizenship or right to work in the United States for wage enforcement cases.
Historically, the Attorney General's office has adopted a policy of not asking about immigration status of employees when proceeding with a wage enforcement case against an employer. As a result, workers who are not in the United States legally have received millions of dollars in wage restitutions by being afforded the minimum and prevailing wage protections of legal residents of Massachusetts.
Under the bill, for wage enforcement cases the Attorney General would require valid proof of citizenship or immigration status before proceeding and would have to confer with federal authorities to validate identification and refer any violations to them accordingly.
"This is a responsible and effective immigration reform that prevents those who are here illegally from receiving the same benefits as taxpaying Massachusetts citizens," said Brown. "It also cracks down on employers who hire illegal immigrants at lower wages by communicating with federal authorities and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Key elements of the bill focus on ensuring the Attorney General's office shares information with federal authorities in order to enforce federal immigration law. All complaints of businesses employing illegal immigrants would be documented and recorded, then referred to federal agencies. All complaints would remain anonymous.
The Attorney General would prepare annually and submit to the Legislature a report detailing all reported violations, the nature of the violations, the date of the complaint, any enforcement action taken against an employer who knowingly employs illegal aliens in the Commonwealth, and any violations of federal law transferred to federal authorities. The Attorney General will also be responsible for maintaining and making available to the public a list of all employers convicted of knowingly employing illegal aliens.
The bill prevents employers convicted of knowingly employing illegal aliens from contracting with the Commonwealth for a period of five years and increases the state fine from $200-$500 to $500-$1000 per illegal employee.