- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Herndon Town Council has approved measures to block contractors working for the town from hiring illegal aliens and to bar illegal aliens from obtaining business licenses.

“What we’re really doing here is we’re changing the perception … that Herndon was very open to illegal aliens,” Town Council member Dennis Husch said Tuesday. “This town council is attempting to change that perception.”

As a result, Town Manager Stephen F. Owen will add language to contracts that will prohibit contractors from hiring illegals and requires business-license applicants to sign a notarized statement saying they are eligible to work legally in the United States.

Mr. Husch also said the measures do not create new regulations, just tighten existing ones.

The changes are part of a larger crackdown on illegal immigration by the new council, elected this year by residents frustrated by the past administration’s support of a partially taxpayer-funded day-laborer center in town.

Last month, Mr. Husch, the new mayor and four new council members allowed the Herndon Police Department to enter into an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.

Town spokeswoman Anne Curtis said yesterday officials have yet to determine how to enforce the measures adopted Tuesday.

Town Attorney Richard B. Kaufman said Virginia law already forbids the hiring of illegal aliens for large construction projects.

But the measure passed unanimously in Herndon expands city laws to include subcontractors who perform such minor work as stocking vending machines and consulting on planning issues, he said.

Council member J. Harlon Reece, who supported the town’s day-laborer center, was the only one to vote against the measure requiring business-license applicants to swear U.S. citizenship under penalty of perjury, Miss Curtis said.

Council member William B. Tirrell Sr. was absent.

The measure, based on a July 24 opinion by state Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, applies to everybody from small-business owners to large corporations, Mr. Kaufman said.

Applicants will not be required to provide proof of citizenship upon application, but must have their oath of U.S. citizenship notarized, Miss Curtis said. The town manager would not have power to revoke existing business licenses, she also said.

Other jurisdictions in the region also are trying to limit the effects of illegal immigration.

Manassas officials are considering a deal similar to that in Herndon in which their police department receives federal training on immigration and customs enforcement.

City Manager Lawrence D. Hughes said yesterday officials are trying to schedule a meeting between city and federal officials on the initiative.

Manassas is now being investigated by the U.S. Justice and Housing and Urban Development departments as a result of complaints filed by civil rights and housing groups who say an ordinance to limit the number of persons living in single-family homes targeted Hispanics. The City Council repealed the measure in January.

In Gaithersburg, city police recently began enforcing trespassing laws against day laborers who loiter in a parking lot, amid complaints from residents.

The city council will vote tonight on a proposed site outside of the downtown to open a day-laborer center.

In Culpeper, Va., Town Council member Steve Jenkins is seeking federal assistance to crack down on the landlords and employers of illegal aliens.

The council gave the measure preliminary approval, then postponed a vote on it Tuesday.

Last month, members vetoed Mr. Jenkins’ attempt to limit the number of families living in single-family homes.

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