Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has reintroduced the “Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act” to permanently authorize the Internet-based E-Verify system that helps employers determine whether their employees are authorized to work in the United States and to require mandatory use of E-Verify by employers to determine employment eligibility of workers, according to a news release on the Senator’s website.
Legislation Would Require Mandatory E-Verify Use
“E-Verify is a proven tool for employers, including myself, that helps reduce incentives for illegal immigration and safeguards job opportunities for Americans and other legal workers. Expanding the system to every workplace will improve accountability for all businesses and take an important step toward putting American workers first,” Senator Grassley stated in the news release.
Employers voluntarily using the E-Verify system submit Form I-9 information from employees to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which works with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine worker eligibility. There is no cost for more than 750,000 businesses that currently use the E-Verify program. The “Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act” would do the following:
- Permanently reauthorizes the E-Verify program that was created in 1996.
- Makes the program mandatory for all employers within one year of date of enactment, requires federal contractors and agencies to use the program immediately, and directs “critical employers,” as identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to use the system within 30 days of designation.
- Increases penalties for employers who 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 consent is provided by the employee.
- Requires employers to check the status of all current employees within 3 years.
- 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 uses of Social Security numbers by requiring them to develop algorithms to detect anomalies.
- Establishes a demonstration project in a rural area or area without internet capabilities to assist small businesses in complying with the participation requirement.
- 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.
- Requires employers to re-verify an employee’s immigration status if the employment authorization is due to expire.
- Establishes an Employer Compliance Inspection Center (ECIC) within ICE to streamline program audits and review compliance with worker eligibility laws.
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), David Perdue (R-GA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
E-Verify – which helps businesses comply with immigration laws by certifying the legal status of their workforce – was established in 1996 as a pilot program with employers in five states allowed to participate. The pilot program was reauthorized in 2001, expanded to employers in every state in 2003 under Grassley-authored legislation, and reauthorized several times since 2008. To learn more, visit www.e-verify.com.
In January 2019, E-Verify resumed operations after being unavailable for over a month due to a lapse in federal funding caused by the longest United States federal government shutdown in history that lasted from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, according to a notice on the E-Verify website. Even though E-Verify was disrupted, employers were still required to complete and retain the Form I-9.
ESR Solution Solves Form I-9 and E-Verify Challenges
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global provider of background checks – is not a typical background screening firm and does not intend to become one. ESR offers a robust solution to solve Form I-9 and E-Verify challenges and help employers maintain a legal workforce. To learn more about Form I-9 and E-Verify services from ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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