A little-used Wildomar ordinance that required citizenship checks using the federal E-Verify system was repealed by City Council Wednesday.
The repeal came a month after Governor Jerry Brown
Wildomar's ordinance, passed in December, required that contractors working with the city use the E-Verify database.
Similar laws were put on the books last year in Murrieta, Temecula, Lake Elsinore and Menifee amidst growing concerns about the possibility of illegal immigrants taking work from U.S. residents.
The E-Verify Program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the United States Social Security Administration, enables participating employers to verify online that employees they hire are authorized to work in the United States.
Wildomar councilmembers reluctantly cast a unanimous vote to remove the ordinance during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. The city hopes swift action will allow it to avoid lawsuits stemming from the now-banned statute.
Mayor Marsha Swanson said the ordinance saw little use.
"We only have three employees here, and it wasn't affecting them anyway," she said.
Swanson said job creators should be allowed to decide for themselves how to vet workers.
“That’s why they went into business,” she said. “To make their own rules.”
Mayor Pro Tem Ben Benoit, who owns a small Wildomar tech firm, said he supported business owners’ right to choose whether they wanted to use E-Verify. Still, he expressed worry that citizens could be passed over for jobs taken by those who didn’t enter the country legally.
“We have a lot of people who use fake (Social Security) numbers and are committing fraud,” Benoit said.