Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) wrote an op-ed in The Hill about his bill The Legal Workforce Act that would mandate E-Verify for all employers and turn off the jobs magnet for illegal aliens. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) have co-sponsored the bill and it is scheduled for markup by the House Judiciary Committee today.
In his op-ed Rep. Smith explains how illegal aliens affect American and legal workers’ wages and how E-Verify can help put American workers first.
Illegal immigrants take jobs from American workers and depress their wages, according to nearly all objective studies on the subject. For example, illegal immigration reduces the wages of American workers by $100 billion per year with unskilled workers hit the hardest.
We should do all we can to protect the jobs and wages of hard-working Americans and legal immigrants.
The Legal Workforce Act opens up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by requiring employers to use E-Verify. The bill creates a fully electronic employment eligibility verification system.
He also explains how successful the E-Verify program has been and how easy it is to use.
The E-Verify system is quick and effective, confirming 99 percent of work-eligible employees (source: USCIS). Over 740,000 businesses voluntarily use E-Verify and an average of 1,500 new employers sign up for it each week. One-third of American jobs are now protected by E-Verify.
And the program is free and easy to use. In fact, E-Verify is available for use on smart phones and takes about two minutes.
Rep. Smith also explains that his bill would protect American businesses from penalties and prosecute those that knowingly hire illegal workers and put American identities at risk.
The verification requirement is phased-in and the length of time depends on the size of the employer’s business. Smaller businesses have two years to implement E-Verify and agricultural businesses have two-and-a-half years…
The legislation gives employers a “safe harbor” so they cannot be held liable if they use the system in good faith.
Penalties are increased on employers who knowingly violate the requirements of E-Verify and criminal penalties are imposed on employers and employees who engage in or facilitate identity theft.
He points out that the American people and business groups support the E-Verify program.
The Legal Workforce Act even has the backing of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and immigration enforcement groups, including NumbersUSA.
Importantly, the American people like E-Verify. A September 2017 Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 82 percent of voters favor requiring business owners to check the immigration status of employees they hire. E-Verify receives the most public support of any proposed immigration reform.
Read the full op-ed at The Hill.
Updated: Wed, Oct 18th 2017 @ 9:45am EDT