An Iowa Senator has introduced proposed legislation in the U.S. Senate that would require all employers in the United States to mandatorily use E-Verify, a program that was created in 1996. The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act of 2013 would make E-Verify permanent and would mandate all employers to use the E-Verify system within 12 months of enactment. Up to this point, employers have been using the program voluntarily to aid them in hiring a legal workforce. E-Verify is a program that helps enforce compliance with immigration law and provides employers with an extra tool to determine if individuals are eligible to work in the United States.
In addition to mandatory use of E-Verify, the bill would also do the following:
-Increase penalties for employers who don’t use the system or illegally hire undocumented workers
-Reduce the liability that employers face if they participate in E-Verify when it involves the wrongful termination of an individual
-Allow employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired, if the applicant consents
-Require employers to check the status of existing employees within 3 years
-Require employers to re-verify a person’s status if their employment authorization is due to expire
-Require employers to terminate the employment of those found unauthorized to work due to a check through E-Verify
-Help ensure that the Social Security Administration catches multiple use of Social Security numbers by requiring them to develop algorithms to detect anomalies
What does this mean for employers?
For employers who have already implemented E-Verify, you are one step ahead of the game. Our law firm already recommends that employers use E-Verify as part of ICE Best Practices and safeguard their companies, ensuring compliance with immigration laws. While mandatory use of E-Verify will undoubtedly impose a greater burden on companies, it will aid in alleviating the amount of illegal workers companies may hire.
I cannot help but bring this proposed bill back to what seems to be the heart of the issue- hiring individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States. It seems evident that these individuals would be more than happy to work in the United States legally, free of fear and able to provide for their families, and that this is the issue we should be focusing our efforts on solving. We need a greater amount of work visas for low skilled workers who want to work in industries such as agriculture, landscape, construction, and hospitality. A greater number of these work visas would enable workers to be employed in the United States legally and would approach the illegal workforce problem differently, and dare I say more efficiently, than the proposed mandatory E-Verify bill.
Corporate Immigration Attorney
THE MDIVANI LAW FIRM, LLC
7007 College Blvd., Suite 460
Overland Park, KS 66211