Iowa Senate Passed Bill Requiring Employers Use E-Verify

Iowa Senate Passed Bill Requiring Employers Use E-Verify

Iowa lawmakers are discussing a bill concerning the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. Known as Senate File 108 (SF 108), it has already passed the Senate in a 30-17 vote. As such, it must now proceed to the House for further discussion. 

SF 108 would require employers to use the federal E-Verify system when verifying workers’ employment authorization. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “E-Verify is a web-based system that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.” As such, employers can quickly verify employees’ identity and employment eligibility. The system compares completed Form I-9s with available records in the Social Security Administration and DHS.

If SF 108 passes through the House and the Governor signs it into law, the legislation will prohibit employers in the state from knowingly employing an unauthorized alien. This provision also applies to a “contract, subcontract, or other independent contractor agreement to obtain the labor of an alien in this state.” However, several employers and business groups have complained about the bill. 

Though they accepted the bill’s intent, they argued that E-Verify is not consistently reliable. However, the bill’s sponsor pointed out that over 5,000 employers in the state use E-Verify and have said the system is easy to use. The sponsor also argued on behalf of those who obeyed the law.

According to SF 108’s sponsor, it was unfair that businesses and employees obeying the law had to contend with illegal competition. He lamented that some businesses pointedly hired such immigrants for lower wages. Joe Enriquez, the Political President of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, supports this stance. He believes that it is an anti-immigration bill and would hurt immigrants and the Iowa economy. 

If the bill passes, any employer violating SF 108 will receive three years of probation or suspension. SF 108 would allow local law enforcement, county attorneys, and the general public to file a complaint against companies that violate the law. Additionally, the Iowa Secretary of State would request that the DHS provide them with a list of employers registered with the E-Verify program every three months. This request is so the Secretary of State can post the list on their website for public access.

It remains uncertain whether SF 108 will pass the House. Regardless, businesses should prepare in case it succeeds and reaches the Governor for a signature. The best way to complete Form I-9s and use E-Verify is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system can integrate with E-Verify, guide employers through both processes, and provide secure digital storage.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9Compliance.