(bw) Washington, DC — on June 14th, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced House Resolution (HR) 2164 “the Legal Workforce Act” — a bill which expands the E-Verify system making it mandatory for all U.S. employers.
“E-Verify is a successful program to help ensure that jobs are reserved for citizens and legal workers,” explained Congressman Smith.
E-Verify was created in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. It allows employers to electronically verify newly-hired employees’ legal status to work in the United States. “The program quickly confirms 99.5% of work-eligible employees,” highlighted Smith.
The National Council of la Raza (NCLR) voiced their concerns over, “This legislation… will do nothing to create jobs, it will place a burden on all job-seeking U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, and it will not fix our broken immigration system,” said Clarissa Martínez De Castro, NCLR Director of Immigration and National Campaigns.
“Today, over 250,000 American employers voluntarily use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week,” said Smith, “outside evaluations have found that the vast majority of employers using E-Verify believe it to be an effective and reliable tool for checking the legal status of their employees.”
In addition to the potential burdens; others are concerned about the systems accuracy on verifying US Citizen Employees, “consider that in 2008, Intel Corp. reported that just over 12% of its workers were wrongly tagged as ineligible, according to the Migration Policy Center in Washington.” wrote the LA Times in its May 27, 2011 editorial —Immigration: You can’t rely on E-Verify.
Luis Magaña, San Joaquin County activist noted, “the system is limited to the ethics of the user; this legislation does not prevents identity theft or stops dishonest employers who capitalize on the low-cost labor offered by the undocumented workforce.”
If enacted, he current paper-based I-9 system would be replaced with an electronic system, a gradual 2-year plan which would phase the program in based on business size, and agriculture business would have to check workers’ legal status within 36 months.
“Workers cannot afford to lose jobs in this economy because of database errors or employer misuse of a verification system…” Martínez De Castro concluded.
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