Peter Boyles falsely claimed "there was nothing ... about fining the private sector" in the anti-illegal immigration bill the Colorado legislature passed in July. In fact, the measure fines employers that "with reckless disregard"* fail to submit documentation requested by state authorities that an employee's status entitles him or her to work in the United States.
While discussing legislation to combat illegal immigration that was passed during July's special session of the Colorado legislature, host Peter Boyles falsely claimed on the October 2 broadcast of his KHOW-AM radio show that "there was nothing in that about fining the private sector." In fact, H.B. 1017, which became law on July 31, penalizes employers up to $5,000 for an initial offense and up to $25,000 for each subsequent offense in which an employer "with reckless disregard"* fails to submit documentation requested by state authorities that a new employee's immigration status entitles him or her to work in the United States.
Boyles made his claim in a conversation with a Manuel Solano, whose wife, state Rep. Judy Solano (D-Brighton), was one of H.B. 1017's sponsors. During the show, Manuel Solano had argued, with regard to illegal immigrants, "that the people that employ these individuals are the problem." Boyles responded, "There is nothing that came out of that special session dealing with the private sector" and challenged Solano to specify what it was. When Solano began describing the new law, Boyles cut him off, saying, "all they have to do is say, 'I checked.' That's all they have to do. There is no fines [sic]."
In fact, the legislation specifies that employers must affirm having examined the legal work status of new employees, retain file copies of the appropriate work authorization documents and the affirmation of eligibility for the duration of the employee's employment, and submit documentation to state authorities when requested. Subsection 4 of the law, regarding penalties, reads:
An employer who, with reckless disregard,* fails to submit the documentation required by this section, or who, with reckless disregard,* submits false or fraudulent documentation, shall be subject to a fine of not more than five thousand dollars for the first offense and not more than twenty-five thousand dollars for the second and any subsequent offense.
From the October 2 broadcast of The Peter Boyles Show:
MANUEL SOLANO: You know as well as I do--
BOYLES: Manuel, should a --
SOLANO: -- that the people that employ these individuals --
BOYLES: I agree with you.
SOLANO: -- are the problem.
BOYLES: I -- Manuel -- and every one of those people escaped in this thing you thought was really good legislation. There's nothing about private-sector people in that hard-core stuff. Now --
SOLANO: There most certainly is.
BOYLES: No. In the state of --
SOLANO: An employer who --
BOYLES: Manuel. I gotta put him on hold. There is nothing that came out of that special session dealing with the private sector. Do you agree, Manuel? Do you agree?
SOLANO: -- individual.
BOYLES: Manuel, do you agree that there was nothing in that about fining the private sector, in that special legislative session, that body of law that came out? Is there anything in there about the private sector?
SOLANO: Of course there is.
BOYLES: Name it to me.
SOLANO: OK, an employer who recklessly hires an illegal alien and does not properly --
SOLANO: -- check their --
SOLANO: -- identification --
SOLANO: -- and keep those identifi --
BOYLES: Manuel, all they have to do is say, "I checked." That's all they have to do. There is no fines [sic]. I appreciate your call.
Correction: This item originally cited an early version of H.B. 1017 that applied to employers who "knowingly" fail to submit requested documentation or who "knowingly" submit false or fraudulent documentation. However, the final version of the bill applied to employers who "with reckless disregard" fail to submit requested documentation or who "with reckless disregard" submit false or fraudulent documentation. Colorado Media Matters regrets the error.