The lawsuit claims that the medical center expressly required its non-citizen applicants to provide a green card as a verification of employment, though other forms of identification like Social Security cards or driver’s licenses were sufficient for U.S. citizens. According to the nationwide Immigration and Nationality Act, anti-discrimination laws prevent employers from placing unnecessary verification burdens on potential employees due to national origin or citizenship.
In response to the lawsuit, the UC San Diego Medical Center settled, agreeing to pay $115,000 in a civil penalty charge but more importantly, to implement new hiring practices free of discrimination from nationality or citizenship. In addition to supplemental human resources training for their personnel, the department is set to ensure that compliance with employment eligibility verification extends to the rest of the University of California.
It is certainly a win on the employee discrimination front, but the financial effects of having newly hired non-citizens turn out to be illegal immigrants provides more negative consequences for the state than good. A study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform claims that illegal immigrants cost the state $10.5 billion a year. These kinds of consequences are the reason why the center is so stringent with application documentation in the first place, but that does not make such discriminatory practices acceptable.
What is important is that these violations of federal discriminatory law do not happen again in UC campuses or elsewhere. These laws were put there for a reason — to give potential job seekers with non-citizen credentials a fair chance in the job market. Employment eligibility verification ought to be standardized across the board based on proof of residency — citizenship cards or green cards — in order to keep the field level.