A new bill before Congress would make the E-Verify process mandatory for all employers.
The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164) was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). The House Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on the proposal June 15.
According to a press release, the new bill would:
- Replace the current paper-based I-9 system with a completely electronic eligibility check
- Phase 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 after enactment, businesses having 500 to 9,999 employees are required to use E-Verify.
Within 18 months after enactment, businesses having 20 to 499 employees must use E-Verify. And within 24 months after enactment, businesses having 1 to 19 employees must use E-Verify.
- Require that employees performing “agricultural labor or services” would only subject to an E-Verify check within 36 months of the date of enactment. Under the bill, an individual engaged in seasonal agricultural employment would not be considered a new hire if the individual starts work with an employer for whom they have previously worked.
- Preempt state laws mandating E-Verify use for employment eligibility purposes 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 the federal law.
- Grant 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.