Warren says he has no trouble using the program, which helps ensure that employers hire employees who are legally authorized to work in the United States.
“That’s just one more step, that we’re safeguarding our jobs for people that are legal here in the country,” Warren said. “To me, it’s a no brainer. I think it’s another tool to let the people know not only if you’re legal, if you come to jail, you get in trouble, you may have to deal with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement); and if you come get a job, there’s not going to be a job there for you.”
Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Bob Ott have proposed an ordinance that would require contractors doing business with the county to apply for certification under the federal IMAGE immigration program. The Board of Commissioners may vote on the topic Feb. 26.
Warren said he supports their ordinance.
“Why wouldn’t you want to make sure that someone is legal in the country to give them a job?” Warren said. “I just can’t understand why you would be against that.”
The sheriff said he hasn’t heard one complaint from the contractors he does business with about the IMAGE program.
Reynolds said he’s a supporter of the federal program as well. The country has a big problem when it comes to issues of immigration, he said.
“With that being said, I think we’re a nation of laws, and in a nation of laws if we don’t follow and enforce the laws, then we’re not what we say we are,” Reynolds said. “If individuals want to become citizens of this country, there’s a process for making that happen. Should the process be different depending on the circumstances of your arrival? Perhaps.”
Fortunately, such decisions are not up to the district attorney, he said.
“But if you’re asking me as a citizen, I think the program is a good idea,” Reynolds said.
IMAGE, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, is a voluntary partnership initiative between the federal government and private-sector employers. ICE developed the initiative as a way for employers to achieve a “lawful work force” through self-policing of their hiring practices.