Iowa Considering a Bill That Would Require All Employers To Use E-Verify

Iowa Considers Mandating E-Verify
February 21, 2023

A bill, House Study Bill 105, that allows the state to revoke or suspend business licenses has advanced in the Iowa House. The state would use this power to address the businesses intentionally hiring individuals ineligible for employment in the United States by mandating employers use E-Verify. However, several lawmakers have expressed concern and hesitation about its chances of moving forward.

E-Verify is a federal program that helps determine the immigration status and employment eligibility of hired individuals. However, opponents of the system voiced concerns due to inaccuracies. They believe the bill could unjustly penalize employers that have hired individuals falsely labeled “ineligible” by the system.

During the statehouse hearing, two Republicans wished to advance the bill, which had passed the state Senate in the past but always failed at the House. According to the House’s chairman, the E-Verify system has proven imperfect, emphasizing how its problems needed further discussion before the vote. Since 2012, supporters of the proposal have pushed for Iowa to require businesses to use E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The proposal allows employers to create an affirmative defense by proving they made a genuine attempt to abide by the law. Using the affirmative defense would negate civil or criminal penalties for employing individuals ineligible for employment in the United States. This decision applies even when the E-Verify system incorrectly labels them as legally employed. Otherwise, employers could demonstrate their attempts to comply by completing the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process and using E-Verify.

If the proposed legislation passes, employers must enroll in E-Verify to determine if their employees are eligible to work in the United States. E-Verify is a federal internet-based system that employers use to verify employment eligibility. Employers still need to complete Form I-9 and then use the information from Sections one and two of the I-9 to create a case.

Employers would face three years of probation as punishment for their first offense of hiring undocumented immigrants. Subsequent offenses would revoke all licenses wherever the unauthorized employee worked or for the primary business location.

Nineteen states use E-Verify for public employers and contractors, though several require all businesses to use the program. As such, employers must ensure they know which states require E-Verify and comply accordingly. Regardless of which states use E-Verify, all employers must complete Form I-9s for their employees.

Unfortunately, this task has proven increasingly complicated due to shifting regulations and the number of available documents. The easiest way to ensure you complete Form I-9 consistently is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This tool helps employers through the whole process and offers E-Verify integration.

Make things a little less complicated for your business by automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.