Politics & Government

N.C. bill aims to keep stimulus money from illegal immigrants

Saying illegal immigrants shouldn't profit from the stimulus package, N.C. lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require contractors eligible for the federal money to verify their employees' immigration status.

The legislation, sponsored by 32 Republicans, was spurred in part by an Observer report that thousands of N.C. jobs created by the stimulus effort could go to illegal immigrants.

"This is Americans' money, and we ought to make sure Americans are getting these jobs," said state Rep. Wil Neumann, a Gaston County Republican and primary sponsor of the bill.

The White House estimates the $789 billion package will generate or save some 105,000 jobs in North Carolina over the next two years.

Congress stripped language from the package that would have required employers seeking stimulus money to use E-Verify, a federal program that checks Social Security numbers.

It's impossible to say exactly how many illegal immigrants will get jobs. But multiple studies say at least 14 percent of the country's construction labor is here illegally. Experts say actual numbers are likely much higher.

North Carolina could get $1.3 billion for highway and school construction, which, based on federal estimates, could mean more than 5,000 jobs for undocumented workers.

To read the complete article, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.