Mandatory E-Verify Bill Passes Iowa Senate
By Colton R. Overcash | April 4, 2019
The Iowa State Senate just took a giant step forward in stopping employers from hiring illegal aliens in the Hawkeye State.
Senate File (SF) 315 passed the upper chamber by a 33-14 vote on April 2. It is currently before the House Public Safety Committee. If enacted, the bill would:
- Require all employers to verify the immigration status of their workers by participating in the federal E-Verify program;
- Empower county attorneys, law enforcement officials, and state residents to file complaints for non-compliance with the Iowa Division of Labor (DOL);
- Authorize DOL to investigate complaints and sanction violators;
- Subject violators to fines, penalties, withholding of certain incentives, and probation, suspension or revocation of their business licenses; and
- Publish the names of violators on the secretary of state’s website.
The bill comes after last year’s tragic murder of Mollie Tibbetts by an illegal alien working at a local agribusiness.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has previously said that “participation in the E-Verify program is an important safeguard for American workers who continue to lose jobs and wages to illegal aliens. The free, electronically-based system allows employers to authenticate the legal work eligibility of prospective applicants – the same way a merchant verifies a credit purchase – with a 99.7 percent accuracy rate.”
Bill sponsor Senator Julian Garrett (R-Indianola), believes it will fix a broken system. “This bill has nothing to do with legal immigrants, only illegal immigrants,” said Garrett. “The present system is very unfair to both legal workers, legal employees, and law-abiding businesses.”
A plethora of special interest groups are lobbying the legislature to defeat the bill. These groups include the Iowa Chamber Alliance, the Iowa Federation of Labor, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and Monsanto, according to their lobbying declarations.
If SF 315 does not advance out of the House Public Safety Committee by April 5, it becomes ineligible for a floor vote for the remainder of the current legislative session, according to Iowa’s chamber rules. However, it could still be taken up in any future sessions prior to the 2020 general election.