Requiring E-Verify of All Employers Would Help Put American Workers First 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today joined U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in reintroducing legislation to help businesses comply with immigration laws by certifying the legal status of their workforce.

The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act would permanently authorize and expand the E-Verify program, an internet-based system that assists employers in determining whether current or prospective employees are authorized to work in the United States.

“Given the double whammy Americans are facing in regards to the influx of illegal immigrants and skyrocketing prices, the E-Verify system is more important than ever to reduce unauthorized employment and protect good-paying jobs for American workers,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Businesses across the country have opted to use the E-Verify system to help them comply with our immigration laws.  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.  Expanding the system to every workplace will improve accountability for all businesses and take an important step toward putting American workers first,” Grassley said.

The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act would:

  • Permanently reauthorize the E-Verify program, which was created in 1996. 
  • Make the program mandatory for all employers within one year of date of enactment and direct “critical employers,” as identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to use the system within 30 days of designation. 
  • Increase penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers illegally.
  • Allow employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired if consent is provided by the employee.
  • Require employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all current employees, who have not been previously checked through E-Verify, within one year after enactment. 
  • Require employers to terminate the employment of those found unauthorized to work due to a check through E-Verify. 
  • Establish a demonstration project in a rural area or area without internet capabilities to assist small businesses in complying with the participation requirement. 
  • Amend the criminal code to make clear that defendants, who possess or otherwise use identity information not their own without lawful authority and in the commission of another felony, is still punishable for aggravated identity fraud, regardless of the defendant’s “knowledge” of the victim. 
  • Require employers to re-verify an employee’s work authorization if their work authorization is due to expire. 
  • Establish an Employer Compliance Inspection Center (ECIC) within ICE to streamline program audits and review compliance with worker eligibility laws.

Additional cosponsors of Grassley’s bill include U.S. Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Read a section-by-section review here and a bill summary here.