Lawmakers Seek to Strengthen E-Verify; Biden Works to Undermine It
In a renewed effort to improve and expand screening of job applicants, the Legal Workforce Act would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to upgrade the current E-Verify program.
E-Verify, operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), checks Social Security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and DHS records to vet their eligibility to work legally in this country.
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., wants to do better. “Until we have a mandatory workforce verification system in place, immigrants will have an incentive to come into our country through illegal means,” he says.
Calvert’s H.R. 319 would:
- Phase in mandatory E-Verify for all new hires in six-month increments. Within 24 months, every business would be covered. The bill also subjects employees performing “agricultural labor or services” to an E-Verify check within 30 months.
- Raise penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Fines on first-time violators would be increased from $250 per illegal worker to $2,500. The bill also creates penalties for employees or employers who knowingly submit false information to E-Verify.
- Require the Social Security Administration to notify individuals whose Social Security numbers have been used multiple times in an unusual manner. The bill directs DHS to “establish programs for blocking and suspending misused numbers.”
More than 1 million American employers currently use E-Verify, but only eight states mandate it. USCIS has not disclosed data on approval rates, nor does it provide information on fines imposed.
The first Legal Workforce Act was introduced by former Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in 2013, and in subsequent sessions of Congress. Odds for passage could improve this year as Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, became the first Democrat in a decade to co-sponsor such job protection legislation.
Meantime, however, the Biden administration is working to pre-empt any congressional action by enabling millions of asylum-seeking migrants to receive work authorization permits. As FAIR observed: “Even a nationwide [E-Verify] requirement would be effectively nullified as long as illegal aliens are authorized to compete with Americans in the job market.”
As Biden slaps U.S. workers yet again, more Americans are getting restive. A new Gallup Poll reports that 63 percent of those surveyed are “dissatisfied” with the ongoing high levels of immigration. That dissatisfaction is growing across the board, among Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
Rep. Case’s party colleagues ought to take note.