The E-Verify program is currently a mostly voluntary online system regulated by the federal government which helps organizations determine the employment eligibility of workers in the United States. Although not mandatory nationally, it is required for most federal contractors and for all employers in Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Utah, as well as for public employers in Florida and Texas.
“E-Verify is a proven tool for employers, including myself, that helps reduce incentives for illegal immigration and safeguards job opportunities for Americans and other legal workers,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Nearly 700,000 employers currently use E-Verify, established in 1996 as a pilot program and funded by taxpayers. Businesses input information reported on a new hire’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the E-Verify system, which uses Social Security Administration data to determine legal status. The program has been reauthorized several times and is set to expire on April 28.
Expanding the system to every workplace will improve accountability for all businesses and take an important step toward putting American workers first. The legislation would:
- Permanently reauthorize the E-Verify program.
- Make the program mandatory for all employers within one year of enactment; require federal contractors and agencies to use the program immediately; and direct “critical employers,” as identified by DHS, to use the system within 30 days.
- Increase penalties for employers that illegally hire undocumented workers.
- Reduce the liability that employers face if they wrongfully terminate a worker due to inaccurate information provided by E-Verify.
- Allow employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired if consent is provided by the candidate.
- Require employers to check the status of all employees not previously verified through E-Verify within three years of enactment.
- Require employers to terminate employees found to be unauthorized to work due to a check through E-Verify.
- Require employers to reverify an employee’s immigration status if the employment authorization is due to expire.