ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - The state is one step closer to being able to punish companies that hire illegal workers.
The President of the Blair Bedford Builder's Association is in favor of the bill, but he doesn’t think it will really accomplish its goal. Jim Brown also owns his own construction company. He says there isn't a big problem with companies hiring illegal workers in our area. You see it a lot more in bigger cities. But it does happen more often on large commercial projects, like November of 2009 in Philipsburg.
Two bills passed through the house that would crack down on the process. The first would take away companies state contracts and even their license to do business if they hired illegals. And the second would protect whistleblowers.
People that talked to WTAJ were concerned about how fair the law is. They don't think a company should be punished if they didn't know the workers they were hiring were illegal. And they didn't think putting a whole company out of business was a good solution.
Brown doesn't think these laws will do much good, because the illegals aren't on the book so they’re still going to work and get paid cash with no trace. And they'll be difficult to prove, because if employers are breaking the law they'll never come forward and admit they exist.
Click here to read House Bill 1502.
Click here to read House Bill 1503.