AT THE MAY 12 meeting of the Novato City Council, resident Jerome J. Ghigliotti Jr. addressed the council about the problems of illegal immigration in Novato and asked the city to take action to protect American jobs.

Specifically, he asked that the new employees of the city, and new employees of its contractors and subcontractors, have their eligibility to work in our country checked by the E-Verify system.

E-Verify is a free Web site that allows employers to confirm that their new employees are legally eligible to work in our country. E-Verify is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration. E-Verify has an accuracy rate of 99.5 percent, and 93 percent of its inquiries are resolved in less than six seconds. More than 117,000 employers are enrolled with E-Verify. It also is being used by Arizona, Colorado and Georgia and other jurisdictions across the nation.

Illegal immigrants come to our country and to Novato for jobs. As a compassionate people, we understand that. However, especially during these difficult economic times, these jobs should be reserved for citizens and legal immigrants with work visas. E-Verify is a tool designed to allow companies and cities like Novato to do that. By using E-Verify, Novato demonstrates compassion for the citizens and legal immigrants of the city.

Many of our citizens are troubled by the federal workplace raids conducted for illegal workers. What better way to stop workplace raids than to use E-Verify to prevent the hiring of illegal aliens in the first place? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and every employer who uses E-Verify makes a worksite raid unnecessary.

If we prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs in our country, then illegal immigrants will not be drawn to our country in great numbers. The problems that illegal immigration brings to our schools, hospitals, social services, highways, jails and the environment will be cut off at the source. As one reminder of the financial burdens caused by illegal immigration, the Los Angeles Times noted that the California jails hold 19,000 illegal aliens. That’s got to be expensive.

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised an immigration policy that would shift emphasis away from workplace raids and place greater focus on employers who hire illegal immigrants. In April, Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Obama administration would focus on employers who hire and exploit illegal immigrants. E-Verify is the ideal tool to implement the administration’s policy.

Why is using E-Verify important to Novato? On a personal level, because Americans are denied jobs by illegals immigrants and honest businesses can’t compete with unscrupulous competitors that exploit cheap illegal alien labor. But more fundamentally, the idea of our society living by the principle of law has been ignored by so many Americans in recent decades and has been openly scoffed at by many as well. We wish to remind our community that living by the principle of law is the foundation of civilized society. Without this renewed commitment, our democracy itself begins to crumble and die.

The jobs that are paid for by the taxpayers of Novato should be reserved for citizens and legal immigrants, especially during these difficult economic times. Will Mayor Jim Leland and the council accept our request and use E-Verify to ensure that the people paid with Novato taxpayer money are citizens or legal immigrants with work visas?

Mr. Ghigliotti and I are members of Citizens for Legal Contracting and Employment, a group of Novato citizens concerned about the large presence of illegal immigrants in our community and the jobs they take. Learn more about CLEC and our request to the city at

Rick Oltman is a member of Citizens for Legal Contracting and Employment and National Media director for Californians for Population Stabilization. Information about E-verify is available at