Senator Grassley Reintroduces the Gold Standard of Immigration Reform in the Senate
FAIR Take | February 2021
Early in the 117th Congress, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has reintroduced FAIR-supported S. 71, the Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act. This bill would permanently authorize and expand the E-Verify program and requires its use by all employers in the United States. This bill is the gold standard when it comes to ending illegal immigration and protecting American workers. Rather than addressing the symptoms of the problem, Senator Grassley’s bill attacks its source – the jobs magnet that lures illegal aliens here in the first place.
Eleven Republican senators co-sponsored this important piece of legislation. In addition to permanently authorizing and mandating the use of E-Verify, S. 71 would also increase penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, reduces the liability of employers who fire employees found to be illegal aliens, and creates an Employer Compliance Inspection Center within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tasked to improve the worksite auditing process and review compliance with worker eligibility laws.
One cannot emphasize enough the impact this bill would have if signed into law. Almost all illegal aliens come to the United States because they know there are jobs available and employers willing to hire them, often at wages well below market averages. As previously mentioned, Senator Grassley’s bill tackles the root cause of illegal immigration, and not just its residual consequences. We can – and should - build border walls, tighten our asylum laws, and increase the number of immigration judges, ICE personnel, and Border Patrol agents. However, these reforms address the millions of illegal aliens in the country, not why they are here in the first place.
Mandatory E-Verify for all employers attacks the problem at its source by requiring all employers to screen new hires through the program. Senator Grassley’s bill also requires employers to screen all existing employers within three years of the bill’s passage, preventing the “grandfathering in” of any current illegal aliens currently employed. Despite the program’s open borders and corporate detractors, the program is incredibly effective. A 2016 study of mandatory E-Verify’s effects in seven states found that the number of newly arrived aliens (those most likely to come for employment) fell by nearly 50 percent when a state implemented a mandatory E-Verify law.
FAIR applauds Senator Grassley’s reintroduction of the Accountability through Electronic Verification Act as the gold standard for curbing illegal immigration. His bill is a narrowly-tailored, well-designed, and forward-looking reform to our broken immigration system.