Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith


Rep. Lamar Smith reintroduced today the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 3711. The bill would require all employers to use E-Verify within two years, fulfilling NumbersUSA's top enforcement priority.

"Nearly 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed," Rep. Smith said in a statement. "Meanwhile, seven million people are working in the United States illegally. By expanding the E-Verify system to all U.S. employers, this bill will ensure that jobs only go to legal workers."

"A recent poll showed that 70 percent of voters support legislation that makes it illegal for businesses in the U.S. to hire illegal immigrants."

While the bill would require all employers to use E-Verify within two years, Ag employers will have 30 months before they have to start using E-Verify for field workers.

The Legal Workforce Act:

  • Repeals I-9 System: Repeals the current paper-based I-9 system and replaces it with a completely electronic work eligibility check, bringing the process into the 21st century.
  • Gradual Phase-In: Phases-in mandatory E-Verify participation for new hires in six month increments beginning on the date of enactment. Within six months of enactment, businesses having more than 10,000 employees are required to use E-Verify. Within 12 months of enactment, businesses having 500 to 9,999 employees are required to use E-Verify. Eighteen months after enactment, businesses having 20 to 499 employees must use E-Verify. And 24 months after enactment, businesses having 1 to 19 employees must use E-Verify.
  • Agriculture: Requires that employees performing "agricultural labor or services" are only subject to an E-Verify check within 30 months of the date of enactment.
  • States as Partners: Preempts duplicative state laws mandating E-Verify use but retains the ability of states and localities to condition business licenses on the requirement that the employer use E-Verify in good faith under federal law. In addition, the bill allows states to enforce the federal E-Verify requirement and incentives them to do so by letting them keep the fines they recover from employers who violate the law.
  • Protects Against Identity Theft: The bill allows individuals to lock their Social Security number (SSN) so that it can't be used by another person to get a job. It also allows parents or legal guardians to lock the SSN of their minor child. And if a SSN shows unusual multiple use, DHS is required to lock the SSN and alert the owner that their personal information may have been compromised.
  • Safe Harbor: Grants employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use the E-Verify program in good faith, and through no fault of theirs, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation.

Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) are original cosponsors.


Updated: Fri, Sep 22nd 2017 @ 11:50am EDT