91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lawmaker proposes stricter checks on workers' citizenship status for state government contractors


A bill in the Michigan Legislature would require all state contractors and subcontractors to check the citizenship status of their employees. Bill sponsor State Representative Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, wants to prevent Michigan citizens from losing jobs to “black market” labor.

The lawmaker is concerned that companies who hire “illegal labor” are unfairly depressing wages, which hurts Michigan workers. Such practices also harm competitors, Runestad said, who cannot compete with the artificially low-cost contracts. Michigan taxpayers should be concerned by undocumented workers “displacing their neighbors” in state jobs, he said.


Runestad’s bill proposes requiring any employer who receives public funds to use the E-Verifysystem, which uses a federal database to determine if an employee is a U.S. citizen or a foreign national who is authorized to work in the United States.


While some critics have argued that the system is inaccurate, Runestad called those concerns a “canard,” citing high satisfaction with the program.


Hear more from Rep. Runestad, including his description of a similar measure in Oakland County, in our interview above.


(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)


Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.