State House committee considers bill outlawing hiring of unauthorized aliens

Under the bill, employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens would lose their license to do business in the state for seven days. A second violation could result in up to a 30-day license suspension. A third offense could lead to a 180-day suspension.

HELENA — The House Business and Labor Committee is considering a bill that would make it illegal for employers to hire unauthorized workers. Critics of House Bill 496 say the measure would lead to racial profiling and burden already strained legal systems.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Howard, R-Park City, said the federal government isn’t doing enough to prevent employers from hiring unauthorized workers.

“Today, if you’re an employer and you purposely hire unauthorized aliens to work for you there is no penalty,” Howard told the committee. “The advantaged of hiring unauthorized aliens is you don’t have to do pay workers (compensation). You can many times pay them half what the going rate is and you can hire twice the number of people to do the job.”