Legislation Reintroduced in Senate to Mandate E-Verify for All Employers

February 12, 2023

A Senator has reintroduced legislation that would help businesses comply with immigration laws. If passed, the Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act would permanently authorize and expand the E-Verify program. E-Verify is an internet-based program that allows enrolled employers to confirm their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. This bill would also require all employers to utilize the program as part of their employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9).

According to the Senator, many businesses use the E-Verify system to comply with immigration laws. Furthermore, he claimed that E-Verify is an effective tool for helping employers. This tool lowers the incentives for illegal immigration. It also helps preserve jobs for Americans and other legal citizens. Additionally, he claims that workplaces using the system would improve accountability and help put American workers first.

Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act

If passed, the bill would require the following:

  1. Federal agencies, contractors, and critical employers must participate in E-Verify;
  2. All U.S. employers must participate in E-Verify within one year of enactment and;
  3. Employers must use a contract, subcontract, or exchange to obtain the labor to certify that they utilize E-Verify.

Failing to use E-Verify would violate the Immigration and Nationality Act’s requirement to verify an employee’s employment eligibility. Furthermore, the act would create a rebuttable presumption that the employer intentionally chose to hire, recruit, or refer an illegal alien.

The bill would also increase civil and criminal penalties for certain hiring-related violations. It would also establish a good faith civil penalty exemption or reduction for some hiring-related violations. Additionally, employers convicted of certain hiring-related crimes or hiring-related crimes repeatedly cannot participate in federal contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements.

However, State and local governments cannot ban employers from using E-Verify to determine the employment eligibility of hired and current employees. Employers must do the following:

  1. Use E-Verify to verify the identity and employment eligibility of any individual not previously verified through E-Verify not later than one year after enactment;
  2. Re-verify the work authorization of individuals not later than three days after their employment authorization is due to expire, and
  3. Terminate an employee following receipt of a final E-Verify non-confirmation and submit information DHS determines would assist it in enforcing or administering U.S. immigration laws.

The law would also require the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to send weekly reports to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) concerning every person who receives a final E-Verify non-confirmation. Additionally, USCIS must establish a demonstration program. It would assist small businesses in rural areas or areas without internet services to verify employment eligibility.

The bill would establish an Employer Compliance Inspection Center within ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations. This center would consolidate and streamline the I-9 audits and related worksite enforcement investigations. It would also amend the federal criminal code to the following:

  • Illegal aliens possessing or otherwise using false identification information not their own will face punishment for identity fraud, and
  • Subject a person who uses false identity information in furtherance of harboring or hiring illegal aliens to a fine and/or penalty of up to 20 years in prison.”

Employers must comply with employment eligibility regulations to avoid fines and penalties. It is especially crucial because this bill would increase the civil and criminal penalties. The best way to ensure compliance with these regulations is to use an I-9 management system with E-Verify integration. This system guides employers through every step, sends alerts as needed, and stores the forms and documentation.

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