Ryan Carter, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/22/2012 04:07:38 PM PDT

A proposal designed to identify restaurants that screen employees for their immigration status will go in front of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, its author said.

Supervisor Neil Derry’s measure would amend the county’s restaurant letter-grading system as a way to identify businesses that use the federal E-Verify system.

Right now the E-Verify system works with the Internet, allowing an employer to voluntarily determine the eligibility of a new employee to work in the United States, according to the U.S. government.

Under what Derry plans to bring to his colleagues on the board, the county’s restaurant-letter-grading system would be amended such that food businesses using E-Verify would receive a green-colored overlay on their grade placard – the kind you see in restaurant windows. Those that don’t would receive a red-colored background overlay.

The amendment to the county code is important for economic and health reasons, Derry said.

“We have a huge unemployment rate among young people,” Derry said. “Most incremental jobs for young people are in the food industry, whether it be the people that bus the tables, people that wash the dishes…but these jobs are few and far between because they are being taken by people who aren’t here legally.”

A second motivator is public health, said Derry, who represents the county’s 3rd District and its roughly 385,000 residents.

People without legal status in the country haven’t been through the same tests and vaccinations that legal immigrants have been through in order to live and work in the U.S, he said.

And that makes customers’ health “vulnerable to numerous communicable diseases more commonly found in people born outside this country,” Derry said.

Derry cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2010 showing that the tuberculosis rate among foreign-born persons in the United States was 11 times greater than among U.S.-born persons and reported an infection rate of 3.6 per 100,000.

“The reasons for it is primarily because of TB rates among people who are primarily immigrants,” Derry said.

The same report cited by Derry, however, also said that while foreign-born and ethnic minorities were disproportionately affected by TB, the rates that Derry cited were the lowest on record since 1953, when such rates began to be documented.

Among foreign-born persons in the United States, the number and rate of TB cases declined in 2010, the report says, and its authors note that “substantial and consistent gains in the reduction of TB incidence have been realized.”

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