Feds sue Maricopa colleges over green-card requests
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Employers who hire illegal immigrants can be fined, but the Obama administration warned this week that they also can be fined for asking legal immigrants to show their green cards before hiring them.
The Justice Department’s civil rights division sued the Maricopa County Community Colleges in Arizona, seeking damages from schools for having “intentionally committed document abuse discrimination.”
Prior to this year, the local colleges in the Phoenix area asked job applicants who were not U.S. citizens to show a driver’s license, a Social Security card and their “permanent resident card,” commonly called a green card.
The Justice Department said a valid driver’s license and a Social Security card are usually sufficient to show that a person is authorized to work. Requesting a green card amounts to “immigration-related employment discrimination,” said Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Federal law forbids treating “authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status,” Perez said. He said the department’s Office of Special Counsel will bring legal actions against employers who impose “unnecessary and discriminatory hurdles to employment for work-authorized non-citizens.”