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Latino Daily News

Friday February 25, 2011

Latest TX Bill, Strict Penalties for Hiring Illegal’s- But Maids are OK

Latest TX Bill, Strict Penalties for Hiring Illegal’s- But Maids are OK

Photo: Maid Service

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The latest bill addressing illegal immigration in Texas has an interesting exemption- Maids.

“It is an admittedly clumsy first attempt to say, ‘We are really focusing on the big businesses,’” Jon English, Rep. Riddle’s chief of staff, said. If homeowners hire lawn-care service, for example, English said, they shouldn’t be punished if a company employs undocumented workers.

House Bill 1202, authored by state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, would make it a state jail felony to knowingly hire undocumented workers in Texas. The bill would punish those who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” hire or contract with an “unauthorized alien”, or with someone who knowingly subcontracts with an undocumented worker. The maximum fine is $10,000, and guilty parties could face a stint in prison of 180 days to two years. (Riddle has also filed HB 17, legislation that would make being in the state illegally a trespassing offense.)

There are two exemptions in HB 1202:
1.) The bill does not insist that E-Verify be utilized but simply says that employers must make a concerted effort to verify status in any manner “that is more likely than not to produce a correct and reliable result.”
2.) There is also an exception for domestic help. People who hire or contract with someone for work “exclusively or primarily at a single-family residence” are off the hook.

English said that “Maid” exception was geared toward not “stifling the economic engine” in Texas, so that people who contract out for work in or on their homes don’t have to verify immigration status.