Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would make the use of E-Verify – a free, web-based, government run electronic employment eligibility verification system – “permanent and mandatory” for all employers in the United States and also provide for penalties for businesses employing illegal workers not authorized to be employed in the United States.

The bill – H.R. 800 – ‘Jobs Recovery by Ensuring a Legal American Workforce Act of 2011’ – introduced by U.S. Representative John Carter (R-TX) would have the E-Verify mandate apply to both new hires and current employees in hopes of guaranteeing a legal workforce in the United States. Other key provisions of H.R. 800 would include:

  • Prohibiting employers from deducting wages paid to or on behalf illegal aliens,
  • Requiring notification of social security number mismatches and multiple uses,
  • Enhancing monitoring of and compliance with E-Verify program, and
  • Enhancing information sharing between federal agencies.

In addition, H.R. 800 would specify the following penalties against employers for employing an illegal worker not authorized to be employed in the United States:

  • In the case of the first offense: between $2,500 and $5,000.
  • In the case of the second offense: between $7,500 and $15,000.
  • In the case of the third and subsequent offenses: between $25,000 and $50,000.

A December 2010 report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureau has taken steps to improve the accuracy and efficiency of E-Verify, which allows employers to verify employment eligibility of workers by checking information on I-9 forms with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. E-Verify immediately confirmed the employment eligibility of nearly 97.5 percent of 8.2 million new hires entered in the system during fiscal year 2009.

Employers have good reason to make sure that their employees are legally eligible to working the United States. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an investigative arm of the DHS, is cracking down on employers suspected of hiring illegal workers by requiring approximately 1,000 businesses to allow their employment records to be investigated.

The bill The bill – H.R. 800 – ‘Jobs Recovery by Ensuring a Legal American Workforce Act of 2011’ – may be viewed at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.800:.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . ESR is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that helps employers maintain I-9 Form compliance and a legal workforce. To learn more about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected].