The people of Cobb “have had their consciousness” raised, in other words. The result? The county began using the E-Verify system in 2006. And Sheriff Neil Warren began using the controversial 287(g) program in 2007, giving jailers at the Cobb Detention Center access to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement database in order to screen the nationalities of those arrested and taken there on other charges. As a result thousands of detainees have been identified as illegals. What a surprise.
The latest welcome step in that direction came on Tuesday when the Board of Commissioners agreed unanimously to become just the 10th community in the country to take part in ICE’s Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers program, or IMAGE. In addition to just using the federal e-verify system to check the immigration status of those hired, it requires the county to submit to an audit and inspection of its employment procedures. Then, if no problems are found, there would be no further audits for the next two years.
The program will affect only those hired by the Cobb government, but private employers will hopefully follow suit.
“IMAGE membership can enhance your corporate image by associating your company with sound hiring practices, and helps to secure the homeland by reducing opportunities to inadvertently hire unauthorized workers,” states the ICE website. Its aim is to help employers “achieve a lawful workforce through self-policing of their hiring practices.”
Cobb’s best-known immigration reformer, D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society, saluted the commission and also requested that it require that only IMAGE-certified contractors be hired for county projects after Jan. 1, 2014.
“While I have serious doubts that there are a lot of illegal aliens working for Cobb County, I am sure and certain from my time in the capitol, that there are a lot of people in the country illegally working for contractors who do work periodically for the county,” he said. “Like the majority of Cobb Countians, I don’t want one dime of my money going to illegal labor if there is a tool that could be put in place that would stop it.”
Indeed. And the commission would be wise to do so. Jobs are scarce these days, and the Cobb Commission should take any and all steps that can be taken to ensure that they go to those who are here legally.