MANDATE E-VERIFY - Require all employers to check both current employees and new hires through E-Verify to open up 8 million jobs currently held by illegal aliens and ensure new jobs go to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.
“Thank you for introducing the Legal Workforce Act, legislation that would rightly create one, federal electronic employment eligibility system … We also applaud the legislation for embracing the latest technology to make the E-Verify system uniform for all employers and for including a biometric pilot program, which we believe is a necessary component to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of any employment verification system.”
“The Associated General Contractors of America has long advocated for immigration reform that strengthens national security and functions efficiently and fairly, while also addressing future workforce needs. [The Legal Workforce Act] is a balanced approach to one part of this complex problem.”
“The American Meat Institute applauds Chairman Smith’s efforts to improve the electronic employment verification system through the introduction of … the Legal Workforce Act. This legislation is a critical first step in providing a practical and functional worksite electronic employment verification system that is vital to achieving a stable, legal workforce.”
“The National Restaurant Association supports the Legal Workforce Act, as introduced, as an excellent balance of many competing interests. The National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant and food service industry. Our industry is the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer comprised of 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets employing 12.8 million people—nine percent of the U.S. workforces … Many of our members are early adopters of E-Verify. Together, we agree in the need for certainty with regard to the responsibilities employers have under employment verification laws.”
In one glance at our easy, colorful enforcement comparison Grid, you can see how the climate for illegal aliens in your state would get really tough if Congress passes U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith's H.R. 2885 (the Legal Workforce Act).
WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) today kicked off debate on the Legal Workforce Act, legislation that would force all business owners to run employees through E-Verify, an error-ridden government database, to determine work authorization. Those who are erroneously flagged as unauthorized to work in the United States spend hours navigating governmental bureaucracies to amend their records or are terminated. Experts estimate that at least 770,000 workers will face termination if mandatory E-Verify efforts are not repealed. Below is a statement from Tyler Moran, policy director, National Immigration Law Center:
“Lamar Smith has dressed up his mass-deportation agenda as a jobs bill but the facts speak for themselves: E-Verify will force hundreds of thousands of American workers to wade through miles of red tape or, ultimately, lose their jobs.
“It is ironic that what Chairman Smith is proposing is in direct conflict with Republican leadership’s agenda of deregulation, job creation and keeping small businesses afloat. After this bill passes the committee, Speaker Boehner has a choice: he can go down Smith’s divisive path by advocating legislation that would ultimately lead to job loss in districts across the country, or, he can use these important moments in the Congressional calendar to focus on job creation.”
Ahead of a scheduled mark-up of H.R. 2885, a proposal that would mandate the use of the controversial E-Verify employment verification system by every employer in the country, Main Street Alliance leader David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, IL spoke at a press event outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on September 14 opposing the plan.
David urged the Chamber and members of Congress to take a stand against E-verify. “The balance sheet on E-verify is simple: it’s bad for small business, bad for our workforce, and bad for the country’s bottom line,” David said. “We urge the US Chamber and our members of Congress to hear our call, listen to small business, and oppose this flawed proposal.”
On June 14, 2011, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced H.R. 2885, the Legal Workforce Act, legislation that would require employers to use the E-Verify system. The House Judiciary approved this legislation on Sept. 21, 2011, and it has been referred to other committees for additional consideration. The House of Representatives could take up the legislation later this year. Requiring agricultural employers to use E-Verify without assuring that a workable guest worker program is in place could have a significant, negative impact on U.S. farm production, threatening the livelihoods of many farmers and ranchers in labor intensive agriculture.
The Immigration and Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) made it unlawful for employers to hire or employ individuals not authorized to work in the United States. Since that time, employers have been required to use the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Form I-9, which is completed by job applicants who submit the form to employers with specified documents that testify to their identity and work authorization. IRCA, however, also created a conflict for employers by prohibiting them from questioning the documents proffered by applicants.
Any employer who questions the documents offered by job applicants or refuses to hire based on reasonable appearing documents can be sued, not only by the job applicant, but also by the Justice Department. The Department of Agriculture website explicitly advises farmers that “Employers must accept any of the documents or combination of documents listed on the back of the INS Form I-9 to establish identity and employment eligibility.”
As a result of these policies instituted 25 years ago, use of fraudulent documents by workers in agriculture has become far too prevalent. H.R. 2885 would mandate that employers use E-Verify and phase in the requirement over several years. For many agricultural producers, the requirement would begin in three years; for others, the requirement could start sooner. Most importantly, the legislation contains no worker program for agriculture – either in remedying problems with the H-2A program or in instituting any additional program to assist agricultural employers. If the mandatory E-Verify program goes forward by itself, without providing producers a source of legal workers, it will present a potentially insurmountable challenge for many agricultural employers. Farm Bureau economists estimate that as much as $5 billion to $9 billion in annual agricultural production is at risk if we cannot address our labor needs in any immigration reform bill.
Farm Bureau could support a worker verification system provided that it is coupled with a worker program that sustains the agricultural sectors, improves the current E-Verify system to eliminate error rates and protect against identity fraud, and provides employers with a “safe harbor” for good faith reliance on the system. Farm Bureau opposes any mandate on employers to use E-Verify in its current form.
Dear House Judiciary Committee Member:
On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we write to express our strong opposition to H.R. 2885, the “Legal Workforce Act.” H.R. 2885 offers a false promise of stopping unauthorized immigration through an expanded Electronic Employment Verification System (“EEVS”), or E-Verify program. In reality, the bill will instead harm millions of law-abiding American workers. We urge you to reject it.
H.R. 2885 will threaten the jobs of millions of U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals, particularly those not born in the U.S. The current E-Verify system only works about half of the time. That is, about half of those run through the system are misidentified as legal when they are not. Many others are flagged as unauthorized when they are, in fact, authorized to work. Among foreign-born communities, these error rates are 30 to 50 times higher than for native-born U.S. citizens. 
Once an error has occurred, resolving it is timely and expensive. Workers often must take unpaid time off to follow up with the appropriate government agency. Corrections at the Social Security Administration (SSA) usually take more than ninety days, require multiple trips to the office, and involve wait times of four hours or more per trip, according to the American Council on International Personnel. This is time and money that many workers cannot afford to lose.
H.R. 2885 encourages profiling of lawful workers, as under-trained employees may simply assume a worker is undocumented and erroneously fire or not hire them at all. Even well-intentioned employers will feel the need to “play it safe” by making prejudgments about workers based on appearance, accent, name – conduct prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Further, according to the U.S. General Accountability Office, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is limited in its ability to target and prevent such misuse of E-Verify and has little or no authority to impose penalties. Contrary to the assertions recently made by the Chairman, E-Verify will most definitely harm racial and ethnic minorities.
H.R. 2885 overburdens the SSA, threatening its core mission of serving disabled and retired Americans. While USCIS financially administers E-Verify, SSA manages 90 percent of E-Verify queries, and SSA field offices must resolve any misclassifications of U.S. citizens. Using SSA databases and employees to confirm the employment status of every American worker under a national E-Verify program would cost an estimated $9 billion over the next 10 years, according to a 2008 Congressional Budget Office report. In the first year alone, the plan would cost more than $1 billion, or 10 percent of the agency’s administrative budget. This financial and administrative burden – particularly without an increase in the agency’s funding – would divert resources from the already struggling agency.
Finally, H.R. 2885 is not an effective tool to combat unauthorized immigration. Eight million unauthorized workers will not leave the U.S. because of H.R. 2885. Rather, they and their employers will likely instead ‘move off the books’ into the cash economy. This massive shift will cause drastic losses to federal, state, and local tax revenues, as well as to the Social Security trust fund, and will open the floodgates for employers to mistreat workers with greater impunity.
Rather than piling this bill on top of an already broken immigration system, we have long argued that Congress should instead adopt broad-reaching, comprehensive immigration reform.
We thus urge you to oppose H.R. 2885. Thank you for your consideration.