The single best action Congress can take to significantly reduce illegal immigration is to require all businesses to use E-Verify.
E-Verify is an electronic verification system, maintained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that allows employers to ensure that they are hiring a legal workforce.
The Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 3711, was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and would require all employers to use E-Verify within two years.
Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) are original cosponsors of the bill.
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.
You can view the bill here.