GOP Senators Reintroduce Mandatory E-Verify to Protect U.S. Workforce

By John Binder

A group of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have reintroduced legislation that would mandate E-Verify, the program designed to protect the United States workforce by banning employers from illegal hiring.

Grassley’s Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act would make permanent and mandatory the E-Verify program to prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens over Americans and legal immigrants.

The legislation is co-sponsored by senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MO), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

“Expanding the system to every workplace will improve accountability for all businesses and take an important step toward putting American workers first,” Grassley said in a statement.

The legislation would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify within one year of its enactment into law while mandating that federal contractors and agencies use the program immediately. Most significantly, the legislation increases penalties for employers that hire illegal aliens over American citizens and requires them to check their current employees’ legal status within three years.

To tackle identity theft in illegal employment, the legislation would have the Social Security Administration track multiple uses of the same Social Security numbers and clarifies that those stealing Americans’ identities can be prosecuted for aggravated identity fraud.

Cotton said it is often the case that “crooked employers have a strong incentive” to hire illegal aliens as they are “willing to work under the table for little pay and few benefits.”

“Permanent, nationwide E-Verify will help us build an economy that works for American citizens while eliminating a serious incentive for illegal aliens to come here in violation of our laws,” Cotton said.

Why isn’t every senator co-sponsoring [Sen. Grassley’s] E-Verify bill?” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies wrote in a post.

Mandatory E-Verify and more protections of the U.S. workforce remain some of the most popular policy proposals despite overwhelming opposition from the big business lobby, corporate special interests, and the donor class.

A weekly survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports shows that more than 7-in-10 likely voters agree that mandatory E-Verify should become law to protect the U.S. workforce. This includes 74 percent of Hispanic likely voters. Less than 20 percent of likely voters oppose mandatory E-Verify.

Additionally, 65 percent of likely voters say it is better for employers to raise wages and try harder to recruit the 17.1 million Americans who are out of work rather than importing cheaper foreign workers. Another 61 percent of likely voters say the U.S. already has enough skilled talent in the domestic labor pool for employers to recruit from.