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Group secures signatures for illegal immigrant ordinance

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The Ozarks Minutemen, a Springfield-based volunteer group, has obtained the needed signatures to turn a petition into a proposed ordinance that would penalize local businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

The group submitted more than 2,400 signatures to the Springfield clerk's office July 19, according to a news release from the group.

Based on the April general election, the Ozarks Minutemen needed 2,101 signatures to pass the petition, said Brenda Cirtin, Springfield city clerk.

Cirtin said the clerk's office has 20 days to certify the petition in order to verify the signatures. If enough signatures aren't verified, the group would have 10 additional days to collect signatures and the clerk's office would need another five day to verify them. Once the signature requirement is met, the proposed ordinance would be passed to the Springfield City Council, which will either vote on the measure itself or pass it to the voters.

The proposed ordinance calls for the mandatory use of E-Verify, a free U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Internet-based program that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the country, whether they are U.S. citizens or foreign naturalized citizens.

“... I am sensitive to the myriad rules and regulations under which we must operate," Jerry Long, director of the Ozarks Minutemen, said in the release. "This ordinance, if passed by the City Council or approved by voters, will not place an undue burden on businesses licensed by the city as long as they don’t hire illegal (immigrants)."

The release didn't stipulate the penalties that would occur if businesses do not use the E-Verify system.[[In-content Ad]]

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