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The Legal Workforce Act (E-Verify)

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164) was introduced in the House by Representatives by Lamar Smith (R-TX) on June 14, 2011. The bill, if passed, would mandate the use of an electronic employment verification system (EEVS), also known as E-Verify, by every employer in the United States.

Currently, the voluntary E-Verify program can only be used after an employer hires an employee; under H.R. 2164, the verification program would be required before hire. The bill also includes:

  • A two-year phase-in period for some businesses
  • A three-year phase in period for the agriculture industry
  • Limitation on the types of documents accepted to prove employment eligibility and identity
  • Preempting states and localities from passing employment eligibility laws but does allow states to pass laws that penalize employers for not using EEVS.

This is an enforcement-only bill that will only worsen our already broken immigration system. It will also:

  • Threaten American jobs (“47 percent of U.S. citizen and authorized workers who are the subject of a database error are unable to correct their records and would therefore lose their jobs”)
  • Create more taxes on businesses to help pay for the program
  • Expand the deficit because it is a costly program to perfect and is not fully paid for by fees
  • Not really work (“as applied to the 60 million new hires in the U.S. per year, between 480,000 and 1.3 million workers would erroneously be flagged”)
  • Cost small businesses $2.6 billion for the cost of administering the program and waiting to actually have new hires on board
  • Cost $17.2 billion in lost revenue would be lost (Congressional Budget Office)
  • Have a huge impact on the agriculture industry because small farmers are not geared to deal with this sort of process. It could result in the closing of family farms that would result in the need to import more food and send labor abroad.

NETWORK opposes this enforcement-only bill without comprehensive immigration reform. Witho