June 8, 2010

Senator Marc Cote: A Call to Action - Representative Government at Risk in RI

Engaged Citizen

If you or members of your family are currently unemployed, please take notice of the following.

Whether or not you've spoken out about past government abuse, now is the time to be heard!

Last week's orchestrated procedural shenanigans by the leadership of the State Senate to stifle debate and deliberation, and temporarily kill reasonable legislation to address a labor injustice that is caused by illegal immigration should outrage Rhode Islanders who expect open and accountable government.

The bill in question (2010 S-2348 E-Verify) is cosponsored by 19 of 38 senators, and statewide polling shows that the majority of Rhode Islanders support this legislation. The Rhode Island House of Representative has passed this legislation during the past two legislative sessions, and has yet to vote on the bill this year.

Recent news reports have provided concrete evidence that there are employers in this region and within our state that are intentionally violating the law by hiring individuals who are not legally authorized to work in this country. In some cases, employers are also conspiring with individuals who participate in the fraudulent document and identity theft industry to advance this scheme.

These rogue employers are driven by their greed and self-interest. They take advantage of these unauthorized immigrants by hiring them at less than market labor rates - recognizing that the employees' illegal status prevents them from pressing for fairness and equality in the labor marketplace.

The 2007 enforcement action at the Michael Bianco Company in New Bedford has demonstrated that United States citizens and legal immigrants are being deprived of employment by unscrupulous employers. The owner and upper management of this company were arrested for hiring 360 illegal workers -- and within days, over 400 formerly unemployed New Bedford area residents applied for the job openings after the enforcement action.

On April 4, 2009, U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi sentenced the owner of Falcon Maintenance LLC of Johnston to 60 days of imprisonment in a federal halfway house, three years of probation and a $10,000 fine for the long-time practice of hiring illegal immigrants, of not withholding the appropriate taxes from their pay, and of lying about participating in the E-Verify system which is now required of state contractors.

On July 28 of last year, a Channel 12 investigative reporter revealed that a subcontractor hired an illegal immigrant to work under-the-table to build, of all things, the new federal immigration building in Johnston. The scandal came to light after the undocumented worker claimed a subcontractor failed to pay him and others for their work. The worker also claimed he was not the only one working illegally at the site.

Some employers unwittingly harbor violent criminals when they employ illegal aliens. In 2008, a young Providence woman was raped in Roger Williams Park by an illegal alien with a prior history of assault who had been employed at a local Texas Roadhouse restaurant. This criminal was sentenced to 30-years at the ACI at our collective expense, which will likely exceed $2 million dollars, adjusted for inflation.

It is estimated that there are about 20,000 unauthorized immigrants currently working in Rhode Island – working in jobs that should be made available to the 72,000 currently unemployed Rhode Islanders.

The legislation that was procedurally and unjustly "killed" by the Senate leadership last week would accomplish this objective by requiring that Rhode Island employers register and participate in the federal basic employment verification program known as "E-Verify".

In Rhode Island, the program is currently mandatory for state and federal contractors only. However, it is already used by over 2,200 Rhode Island employers, and this legislation would make it mandatory for 16,000 additional employers in this state. This would level the playing field for those conscientious employers, so that they are not disadvantaged by doing the right thing and hiring only legal workers.

If you care about the costs of illegal hiring practices to your family and friends by unscrupulous employers in Rhode Island, please call Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed at 222-6655, and Majority Leader Daniel Connors at 222-3310 and respectfully ask for a vote on the E-Verify bill by the full Senate.

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard, and I respectfully ask for your support. Should you have any questions, you can contact me at 765-3360.

State Senator Marc Cote (D) represents Woonsocket and North Smithfield.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I do not understand the opposition to E-Verify. Beyond the economic issues, it would help create a layer of security and accountability to help protect against domestic terrorism. As it stands right now, if there are 20,000 undocumented workers in Rhode Island, the General Assembly could be putting the State at risk.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at June 8, 2010 10:42 PM

The opposition is simply that activists who want to shield illegal aliens and their handmaidens in the legislature spread the lie that "E-verify" is somehow"racist".
It's a lie,period.It applies to everyone.
Thhis is your morally corrupt RI government at work.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 8, 2010 11:23 PM

State Senator Cote

Why have an overwhelming number of RI businesses made the decision not to be part of this program?

Anchor Rising

One of the consistent themes of the poltical thought here has to do with the idea that by removing regulations that hinder businesses you thereby give them more incentive to increase their production and hire more workers. The General Assembly is usually an object of scorn for their percieved anti business actions here on this blog.
So here you have a state senator who wishes to impose by law a program that a clear and overwhelming number of businesses have rejected and I am wondering where you small government advocates are now.

Posted by: Phil at June 9, 2010 6:58 AM

Phil -

What demographic are you using when you say that "a clear and overwhelming number of businesses" oppose E-verify?

Was there an actual survey of all business owners or is this conjecture based on input from lobbyists? I can't imagine any legitimate business owner opposing E-Verify.

If E-Verify saves money, cuts down on crime, and even the playing field smart legitimate business owners would not reject it.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at June 9, 2010 7:48 AM

Hey Phil, if you're a business owner and someone asks you to participate in a program that would cost you money (because it's not current state law) and cost you time, but your competition does not have to participate and actually does the opposite of what the program is intended to fix, would you reject that program too?

If the playing field is level, I don't think many business owners will object. It when someone is asked to slant the playing field away from themselves voluntarily that most owners will balk.

Posted by: Patrick at June 9, 2010 8:10 AM

The other question I have is for Sen. Cote. If 19 senators feel that strongly about e-verify to co-sponsor the bill, and especially after the games that were played to avoid any real vote on it, why didn't those 19 vote against the state budget until e-verify got a vote? Even if the Senate passes it, it's not like the House would have passed it, so what are they afraid of?

Posted by: Patrick at June 9, 2010 8:25 AM

Phil-you're very transparently carrying water for illegal aliens and being disingenuous by trying to taunt other people here about their desire for smaller government.It's not like we conservatives are anti-government.Well,I'm not anyway.
I think government has many legitimate functions-immigration enforcement being a primary and constitutional one.
E-verify is a federal program designed to be used by employers.
Unfortunately,it's not mandated by the Federal government,just made available.
The states are left with the job of mandating its use.
I believe E-verify would help eliminate worksite raids;encourage illegal aliens to return home;and allow ICE to use their resources more effectively to track down and apprehend individually dangerous violators.
I'd like to know this Phil-do you believe illegal aliens have a RIGHT to live and work here?

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 9, 2010 8:58 AM

There is no factual basis whatsoever for Phil's statement. Most RI businesses are not in a position to hire illegal aliens because they are either small, family businesses or firms that require skilled employees.

BS comes in many forms. The citing of irrelevant statistics is one of them.

Posted by: BobN at June 9, 2010 9:01 AM

I never cited statistics or polls. I used the information available in the Senator's post.

" However, it is already used by over 2,200 Rhode Island employers, and this legislation would make it mandatory for 16,000 additional employers in this state."

Sixteen thousand seems to me to be an overwhelming number when compared to twenty two hundred. Clearly many more businesses have chosen not to avail themselves to an existing program than the relative few who have. I asked the Senator why he thought that businesses had not used that existing program.


I don't know what rights human beings have in this country if they do not have legal documents pertaining to their work, school, or travel. I don't know what human rights are afforded to those found to be here without any legal determination of their status. I will tell you that if a person that you may wish to describe as an illegal alien was to ask me for water I would give them water.

Posted by: Phil at June 9, 2010 5:58 PM

Phil doesn't seem to understand the philosophical and economic differences between voluntary charitable actions and violently coerced redistribution of wealth through government. He also doesn't seem to understand that illegal immigrant status goes beyond merely having certain paperwork in order.

Posted by: Dan at June 9, 2010 7:24 PM

Phil-I asked you a simple question and you went all philosophical on me.
Here's the way I see it:
The water analogy is something anyone would do.If someone heas a heart attack,there's no reason to ask for a green card.If they want a hip replaced at taxpayer expense there damn well is.
If an alien is arrested,they get due process.despite the BS you hear from the advocates.
In a criminal proceeding their rights are identical to mine or yours.
So,you can give an illegal alien(the only correct term)water,but you haven't the right to give him a job.And he has no right to take it.
"Human rights"is a load of crap that emanates from the UN and one-worlders.
The term is unknown in US law.
I hope this made things clearer for you.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 9, 2010 8:33 PM


You did clarify some of the legal questions of mine. Since you had capitalized the word "rights" I assumed you had a specific idea as to what was meant by the word. I didn't. I do not use the phrase illegal alien for a human being. I am aware of how the phrase is used. Those are the words you and others use. I don't.


I don't understand.


You make a good point about the lack of an incentive to the 16,000 businesses to join voluntarily. Passing a law requiring them to do what they were not willing to do voluntarily will cost them money and time but at least their competition will have to comply also. I go back to my question about the supposed pro business Anchor rising crowd endorsing the General Assembly requiring businesses in RI to take on additional costs by passing laws such as this one.

Posted by: Phil at June 9, 2010 10:37 PM

Phil-take some time to read Title 8 of the US Code.An "alien" is anyone not a citizen or national of the US.Period.
An alien can be a legal resident;non-immigrant visitor,worker,student,etc;a refugee;or be here illegally.
No where will you find mention of"undocumented immigrant";"undocumented worker";or any other euphemism employed by the bleeding hearts and even some non-bleeding hearts who don't know any better.
I bet you'd think I was a real dope if I insisted on calling a quahog a scallop.
Words do mean something.
I will never understand the blind spot you and many others seem to have on this subject.
Yeah,yeah,our ancestors came as immigrants,most through Ellis Island.Think about that-they had to stop and remain for awhile until they were cleared-or weren't.If you think the US has to embrace everyone who sneaks in undetected,or violates the terms of a legal admission,then we're out of material for a discussion.
And please don't make some value judgment on me because I dare to use the correct legal term for people.
You can call them veeblefetzers if you want,but it doesn't change things.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 9, 2010 10:56 PM


How many people would chose to come to this country legally if that obtion was more readily available to them.

Posted by: Phil at June 10, 2010 5:57 AM

Phil-a lot.That's obvious.The point is,we can't take everyone who wants to come in.Show me a country that does.There are some countries no one in their right mind would move to,yet they have immigration laws,usually enforced more stringently than ours.
We,as a sovereign country reserve the right to determine who comes here and who stays.
The Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty keeps getting regurgitated-why?It's a friggin' poem.
This whole concept of "no person is illegal"is a subversive attitude in the worst sense of that word.It means we have to cede control of our borders and shut up because the one-worlders want it that way.
IF there ever was a single world government,God forbid-these radicals would be the first to go to the wall.No government that takes its power from above suffers troublemakers for long.
The great migrations that settled in the US decades ago and more encountered a country with an expanding economy.Do you see an expanding economy today?
I think immigration is good for the country as long as we are admitting people we need.
We don't need more people coming here with their hands out.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2010 7:28 AM

"How many people would chose to come to this country legally if that obtion was more readily available to them."

It is. They choose to take the easy route. Or do you think that we should all anyone and everyone in? Should we allow every single person who wants to come to the US and become a citizen just come right in and nationalize? What if 1 billion people wanted to do that in one year?

"I go back to my question about the supposed pro business Anchor rising crowd"

See, that's the part you don't get. This *is* pro-business. Businesses want to be able to compete legally. Those who don't comply with the laws have an unfair advantage. Or should we just strip out ALL labor laws? Are you in favor of that?

Posted by: Patrick at June 10, 2010 7:31 AM

I understand Phil's sentiments regarding the status of immigrants. However, I do not think that the opposition to E-Verify has its roots in that sentiment. I think it has its roots in the ability to exploit undocumented workers.

I think failure to adopt E-Verify represents huge danger to Rhode Island and the surrounding states. It makes Rhode Island appear to officially sanction an exploitive employment environment and act as an incubator for criminal activity.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at June 10, 2010 12:12 PM

Robert Balliot-"immigrants" are not the issue.Please check the legal definiton of "immigrant" in Title 8 US Code and get back to me.Or not.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2010 2:25 PM

Joe - I understand what you are saying too. But, in common usage "immigrant" basically means someone who has moved to another country. So, you both could be correct in your arguments. I think Phil's argument is valid to a certain degree, but I think E-Verify actually helps solve some of the problems he thinks it would create.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at June 10, 2010 5:17 PM

Robert Balliot

I don't know if E-Verify would create problems or not. I was asking the question about why an overwhelming number of businesses had not opted into the voluntary program that is available to them now. Unfortunately the Senator did not share his thoughts on the subject with us. Joe Bernstein has a great deal of knowledge in the enforcement area of this discussion he having been an INS agent for decades. I may disagree with Joe in many areas but I respect his knowledge in this area. I have very limited experience in this area. One "illegal alien" I know of was from Finland and settled in Western Coventry. I got to know him through his daughter who is a friend of mine. He lived in Coventry for years raising his family. All his children and his wife, the mother of those children, were citizens of the US. He lived here with some fear of discovery of his illegal status. He passed away around a decade ago. He made beautiful wooden carvings. I still have some of his wooden spoons which I still use today. I do not share the intensity of feeling I hear expressed about the threat that some feel about illegal immigration. As a fisherman I feel some kinship with those who share the trade. I remember reading about the three Mexicans who set the record for the number of days being lost at sea in the New York Times a few years ago. They had gone to the Pacific coast from various far flung places in Mexico to fish for what amounted in wages to about $20 a day. I understand that kind of reality. Instead of travelling across Mexico to go to sea on a small fishing boat they may have easily decided to go north to work for double or triple that without risking their lives. While Katz and others on this site go on about those wealthy residents who choose to go to other places where taxes don't require them to contribute to their communities, I do admit to understanding why someone would choose to uproot and travel a great distance to a hostile environment that promises an opportunity to work and prosper.

Posted by: Phil at June 11, 2010 10:35 PM

Phil - I'm not sure how or why someone who comes to Rhode Island from New Jersey (such as Justin) could be considered *better* than someone who comes from another country. But, New Jersey transplants do have to provide documentation such as a valid SS# to work.

I have heard many people speak with great personal conviction about the problems with 'illegal aliens'. They are often second or third generation US Citizens who count *their* worth by the length of time in the US.

If your family moved to the US fairly recently, you would have had to go through the hazing process of being an immigrant. You would have the lower paying jobs. You might not have a good grasp of English. Your family would have struggled through the new status. So, it is natural to self-validate by disparaging newer arrivals and de-valuing them. It happens in all organizations. Being able to disparage the new arrivals validates your own status of belonging.

Rhode Island welcomes new arrivals. There are many languages being spoken here. There are many cultures that have not been completely diluted giving Rhode Island an upper hand in being an interesting place to live and learn. However, I think processes such as E-Verify help to equalize the status of old arrivals and new arrivals - even the ones from New Jersey.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at June 12, 2010 8:42 AM

Robert and Phil-I'll take off my INS hat and make a personal observation-nothing you guys say is wrongheaded.I welcome people who will contribute-they don't have to be rich.We've taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees over the years,many of whom had no skills or education.
If it's amtter of people being slaughtered or allowing them in,I have no problem.
What I'm saying is it has to follow a process for the sake of national security and common sense.
My father in law immigrated with his brother from Honduras in 1940.
He was a sailor and his brother joined the US Army.
They each served in three wars-WW2,Korea,and Vietnam.My father in law in the Merchant Marine and his brother in the infantry.
My father in law was sunk on a convoy run and his brother landed at Normandy all before they naturalized.
Both of them had strong opinions against open borders and thought the job i did was agood one.My wife's uncle is now deceased,but his widow,a second generation American of Mexican descent has the same attitude.
My wife does,too,as do her siblings and cousins.This isn't the"racial"issue that agitators would make it for their own purposes.
Phil's example is illustrative.
I too,feel a kinship with people from other places who did my job.Doesn't mean I'd give the a pass to evade the rules.
We've been a successful nation precisely because we have been one of laws rather than dictators or anarchic mob rule.
Have we been perfect?Of course not-but I'd not throw out the rule of law because of emotion-the results could be horrendous.

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