TRENTON – Senate President Pro Tempore Shirley K. Turner introduced legislation yesterday that would require that companies employing undocumented aliens pay back any development subsidies they receive from a state or local governmental entity.
“We spend tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to businesses with the promise that they will create new jobs and bolster the New Jersey economy,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “When these companies go and hire illegal aliens to fill these new jobs, they are violating that agreement and ultimately defrauding the taxpayers of New Jersey. Those companies who break the law have no right to retain the benefits of a development grant.”
The bill, S-2086, would prohibit any enterprise that is the recipient of a development subsidy from employing individuals who are aliens unless they are lawfully admitted for permanent residence or for the purpose of performing the employment as outlined under federal law. Any enterprise found to be violating this provision would be required to pay back the amount of the subsidy they received over the past five years to the granting body. “Development subsidies” include any amount of funds granted from a public body for the purpose of stimulating economic development in New Jersey.
“With the amount of unemployment in New Jersey, especially in our urban communities, the State can ill afford to subsidize companies that skirt employment laws and pay substandard wages to illegal workers,” said Senator Turner. “When companies tell us that they are going to take taxpayer dollars to create more jobs in the state, those jobs need to go to those New Jersey residents who need them.”
Senator Turner has been the leading proponent of requiring more stringent monitoring of development subsidies like the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) and the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant (BRRAG). She has also been a strong advocate for ensuring that New Jersey tax dollars are not spent to employ undocumented workers in the United States or outsourced workers in foreign countries.
Senator Turner added, “When New Jersey companies bring in illegal workers to the area or outsource the job at a fraction of the cost, we are seeing those tax dollars being flushed down the drain. My message is clear: if your business benefits from New Jersey tax dollars, then New Jersey residents should benefit from your business.”
The bill now awaits a reference to one of the Committees for a preliminary hearing.