Happy News! Mandatory E-Verify Bill Introduced

Published on June 15th, 2011

In my twenty-five years of activism on behalf of sensible immigration policies, this is the happiest news I have ever reported. On Tuesday, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164) that would require most employers to use E-Verify within two years of enactment. Within six months, all large employers, federal, state, and local agencies and federal and state contractors would need to be compliant. Smith’s bill would also make the E-Verify program permanent and reinstate the no-match letter program to help identify the approximately 7 million illegal aliens currently holding non-agriculture jobs. Speaking on behalf of his bill, Smith said: “E-Verify is a successful program to help ensure that jobs are reserved for citizens and legal workers. The ‘E’ in E-Verify could just as well stand for ‘easy’ and ‘effective.’ It takes just a few minutes to use and easily confirms 99.5 percent of work-eligible employees. There is no other legislation that can be enacted that will create more jobs for American workers.” In addition to permanently requiring employers to use E-Verify and thereby eliminating the jobs magnet that has lured tens of millions of illegal aliens to the United States during the past decades, Smith’s bill will also put into effect security provisions that have been blocked by lobbyists and Congressional members who support higher levels of immigration. First among them is a requirement that the Social Security Administration (SSA) must send out “no match” letters to employers if the name and social security number of a current employee do not match. The employer must then process those employees through E-Verify. This would weed out illegal aliens who use fake social security numbers. Second, the SSA must send a yearly notification to each owner of a social security number that has multiple employers reporting income to that number indicating that it may have been stolen and used by illegal aliens. Employers would have to run potential identity thieves through E-Verify. SSA would then lock the use of any social security numbers used by someone other than the rightful owner or if the legitimate owner has violated immigration law and been ordered to leave the country. Third, create a phone verification system to offer as an alternative to the electronic method. Fourth, E-Verify will be mandatory at all day labor sites and personnel placement agencies. Fifth, H.R. 2164 will protect states’ and localities’ authority to revoke business licenses of employers who fail to use E-Verify. Sixth, penalties for employers who refuse to use the system or who intentionally try to avoid it will be significantly increased. Fines can range up to $25,000 per unauthorized worker and a minimum one-year prison sentence may be imposed on an employer who engages in multiple offenses. Capitol Hill analysts expect H.R. 2164 to pass the House and Senate to end up on President Obama’s desk for signature before the end of 2011. Current California co-sponsors are: House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly and Reps. Brian Bilbray and Ken Calvert.

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