Mesa is in the final stages of implementing a worker verification program that will require more detailed information from city contractors about each of their workers, and any of them requiring a security badge access to city buildings will have to show a federally authorized identification card, Mayor Scott Smith said at a media availability Monday.
These measures are being taken to fill any gaps in preventing illegal immigrants from working in city buildings for private contractors, Smith said.
All contractors will have to provide a detailed list of employees and a sworn affidavit that their employees are legally present in the country.
Furthermore, Smith said that if Mesa has to give a contractor a security badge for an employee to gain access to the city buildings on non-regular hours, then the employee will have to provide a U.S.-authorized identification, such as an employment authorization card or a green card, or a state-issued identification card.
A Mexican government identity document called the matrícula consular, for instance, will not be accepted, Smith said.
Mesa could also randomly audit workers to check their identification.
These requirements will be put in place for existing and new contractors.
Smith said there are legal limits to how much information the city will be able to seek from the workers, and acknowledged that the documents could be forged, "but it's the best we can do."
The earlier policy was such that a contractor could make a blanket statement that they were following the state’s employer sanctions law, aimed to prevent employers from hiring illegal workers, and the city would take the contractor's word for it. But arrests during raids on city buildings in October showed that some workers slipped through the cracks.
"That's a gap that needs to be filled," Smith said.
The announcement comes one month after Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies raided Mesa municipal buildings, including City Hall, and arrested 16 employees of a Mesa contractor for alleged forgery and identity theft. Charges were filed against 11 employees.
The sheriff's office had received a tip from a fired security official that illegal immigrants working for a city contractor, Management Cleaning Controls, were using fake identifications.