"It's very disappointing when you spend all the time, you go to your elected representatives and you get them to do something, and then at the higher level they squash you," said Ted Wegener, founder of Conservative Activists, which had pushed for local laws that forced employers to use E-Verify to check on workers before they were hired, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
The cities of Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore had adopted local ordinances that some say were an unnecessary expense that was especially punishing to small businesses.
Murrieta's local law had permitted residents to phone in if they suspected a business had hired an illegal immigrant, but no such complaints came in.
"We have not received a single phone call. We did not believe there was ever a problem with illegal immigration in Murrieta," said Brian Ambrose, a senior analyst in the city manager's office.
Sara Sadhwani, strategy director for the California Immigrant Policy Center said scattered ordinances around the country did not do justice to the issue.
"While a handful of cities in California and a handful of states across the country have moved to mandate the use of this kind of program, it's very misguided," Sadhwani said.
Wegener, who complained that the state squashed the little guys is now waiting for the federal government to take action, the newspaper said.
In Congress, Rep Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., have sponsored a bill that will make it mandatory for employees across the country to check on the status of new workers using a system like E-Verify.