Rep. Calvert Introduces the Legal Workforce Act to Require the Use of E-Verify
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) introduced the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 250, which preserves jobs for citizens and legal workers by requiring U.S. employers to check the work eligibility of all future hires through the E-Verify system.
“Fixing our broken immigration system is long overdue and requires solutions like the Legal Workforce Act,” said Rep. Calvert. “By requiring the use of E-Verify, we can send a strong and clear message that people looking to come to America to improve their economic outlook must do so legally if they want to work here. We want and need immigrants to come to our nation to contribute to our success, but we must also remain a sovereign nation governed by the rule of law.”
In 1996, Rep. Calvert authored the law that created the E-Verify program, the only tool available for employers to voluntarily check the legal work status of newly hired employees. Since then, Rep. Calvert has worked steadily over the years to expand E-Verify and pushed to make it mandatory.
E-Verify is operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), E-Verify checks the social security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to help ensure that they are genuinely eligible to work in the U.S. The program quickly confirms 99.8% of work-eligible employees and takes less than two minutes to use. Nearly 750,000 American employers currently use E-Verify.
Summary of the Legal Workforce Act:
Repeals I-9 System - The Legal Workforce Act repeals the current paper-based I-9 system and replaces it with a completely electronic work eligibility check, bringing the process into the 21st century. However if an employer chooses to keep using the paper-based I-9 system they may do so.
Gradual Phase-In – Phases-in mandatory E-Verify participation for new hires in six month increments beginning on the date of enactment. Within six months of enactment, businesses having more than 10,000 employees are required to use E-Verify. Within 12 months of enactment, businesses having 500 to 9,999 employees are required to use E-Verify. Eighteen months after enactment, businesses having 20 to 499 employees must use E-Verify. And 24 months after enactment, businesses having 1 to 19 employees must use E-Verify. Allows a one-time six month extension of the initial phase-in. It also requires that employees performing “agricultural labor or services” are subject to an E-Verify check within 30 months of the date of enactment.
Strengthened Penalties – The bill raises penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in violation of the requirements of the bill. The bill also creates a penalty for individuals (employees or employers) who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system.
Safe Harbor – Grants employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use the E-Verify program in good faith, and through no fault of their own, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation.