Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has introduced new legislation (S.202) in the U.S. Senate that would require all employers in the United States to use E-Verify. Sen. Grassley serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration policy in the Senate. He also sits on the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act of 2013 would make the E-Verify program permanent and would require all employers to use the system within 12 months of enactment.
"With employers using the program on a voluntary basis, E-Verify has already proven its value in helping to enforce immigration laws by giving employers a tool to determine if individuals are eligible to work in the United States. And, if we can help stop employers from hiring people here illegally, we can help stem the flow of individuals crossing the border for jobs," Sen. Grassley said. "E-Verify will safeguard opportunities for legal workers and give employers a reliable tool to have a legal workforce."
The bill was introduced with 10 original cosponsors, including John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Michael Enzi (R-Wy.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Sen. Grassley's bill would:
- Makes permanent the E-Verify program that was created in 1996;
- Makes E-Verify mandatory for all employers within one year of date of enactment;
- Clarifies that federal contractors and the Federal Government (executive and legislative branches) must use it, and allows the Secretary to require “critical employers” to use it immediately;
- Increases penalties for employers who don’t use the system or illegally hire undocumented workers;
- Reduces the liability that employers face if they participate in E-Verify when it involves the wrongful termination of an individual;
- Allows employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired, if the applicant consents;
- Requires employers to check the status of existing employees within 3 years;
- Requires employers to re-verify a person’s status if their employment authorization is due to expire;
- Requires employers to terminate the employment of those found unauthorized to work due to a check through E-Verify;
- Helps ensure that the Social Security Administration catches multiple use of Social Security numbers by requiring them to develop algorithms to detect anomalies;
- Amends 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;
- Establishes a demonstration project in a rural area or area without internet capabilities to assist small businesses in complying with the participation requirement; and
- Provides an offset to pay for any upgrades or expenses required by the legislation using unobligated funds from various departments.
Sen. Grassley has earned an immigration-reduction career A-grade for his work on the issue over the years. In 2011, he also introduced mandatory E-Verify legislation.