Grady employers get advice on illegal migrant workers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grady employers get advice on illegal migrant workers

August 3, 2006

Grady County-  Grady County employers tackled the issue of handling illegal migrant workers. As the number of migrant workers in south Georgia continues to climb, so does the responsibly of employers to make sure the workers they hire are here legally.

The migrant worker population increases a little each year in south Georgia and in counties like Grady.

"In the early 80's there were very few Hispanics in our community, and oh, I would say it's probably like ten, fifteen, twenty percent of our community now, is Hispanic," said Phillip Gainous, Gainous Agriculture, Gainous Labor Services.

Talk of immigration reform and guest worker programs prompted the local Department of Labor to make employers aware of the danger in hiring illegal workers.

"In mid April, it was clear that Homeland Security woke up and that sleeping tiger is now roused and there's very little chance that sleeping tiger is going to go back to sleep," said Attorney David Whitlock, Fisher & Phillips, LLP.

Local employers like Phillip Gainous take the necessary steps.

"They have to have their resident alien card and a social security card and we take it at face value to make it, if it looks legitimate we have to accept it," said Gainous. Because those documents are sometimes false, more can be done.

"Participate in voluntary verification programs, like the social security system which is an online system or an 800 number that you can call to verify a social security number," said Whitlock.

All employers are at risk for raids or visits from the government to ensure that their I-9 compliance is right and that they're not employing illegal aliens.

"There are several coming in, all the time coming, people new coming here, that will not have proper documentation, and we can't take them, so, we just have to turn them away," said Gainous.

Prudent employers, like Gainous though should want to take the extra steps to make sure they stay off the enforcement radar completely.

President Bush, continues his push for immigration reform. Thursday, he revisited the issue during a stop at a Border Patrol station in Texas.

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