All employers in the U.S. may be required to participate in the E-Verify employment eligibility program if immigration legislation passes.
In the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, senators known as the “gang of eight” are proposing actions for the federal government to bolster its Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.
If the Bill were to be enacted, all employers would need to check each job applicant’s employment eligibility through the online E-Verify system.
According to a Wall Street Journal poll, 60% of American small-business owners believe every employer should have to comply with the E-Verify system to verify workers’ legal status.
E-Verify is an online system where employers confirm the legal working status of new hires by linking to federal databases. The program is overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in conjunction with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What’s Next for the E-Verify Legislation?
Debate on the $5.5 billion Bill is scheduled for Friday, April 19, 2013, when the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing. The bipartisan “gang of eight” senators anticipate active opposition. One of the gang of eight, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said the gang pledges to oppose any effort to undermine the legislation.
Other Provisions of the Bill
- Sets goal of preventing 90 percent of illegal border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico.
- $1.5 billion allocated for full-border fencing.
- Full surveillance of the entire U.S.-Mexico border using unmanned drone aircraft and other technology.
- Moving to merit-based visas based on work history or occupational skill level as opposed to visas granted on familial relationships.
- Undocumented immigrants able to apply for registered provisional immigrant status.
- Immigrants would be unable to receive lawful permanent residence for 10 years after obtaining provisional status.
- Bars anyone who arrived in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2011, from applying for legal status and ultimately citizenship.
- Applicants for legal status must document that they were in the country before Dec. 31, 2011, have a clean criminal record, and demonstrate financial stability.