Employers should become familiar with E-Verify because it’s likely to become mandatory. While E-Verify has been voluntary for most employers since it was put into place in 1996, it has become mandatory for federal contractors & certain state contractors.
Legislation introduced in Congress in 2017 – “Legal Workforce Act” (H.R. 3711) – hopes to make the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system a “mandatory and permanent” requirement for U.S. employers to ensure the workers they hire are legally eligible to work in the United States.
The following is an excerpt from an article from the Employment Screening Resources blog:
Introduced by U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas),
“The Legal Workforce Act”
would require all U.S. employers to use
, which confirms 99.8 percent of work-eligible employees and is currently used by more than 700,000 American employers.
A 2016 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that
83 percent of U.S. employers support a mandatory electronic verification system
. A summary of the key components of the Act reveals the legislation will also:
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 prohibits U.S. employers from hiring people for employment in without verifying their identity and employment authorization on a Form I-9.
Operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), E-Verify checks the social security numbers of employees on Form I-9s against records from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that they are legally eligible to work in the United States.
Mandatory nationwide use of E-Verify was included in the White House Fiscal Year 2018 Budget that called for “expanding worksite enforcement strategies by mandating nationwide use of the E-Verify system” to reduce illegal employment.
The DHS FY 2018 Budget in Brief requested $131.5 million for E-Verify operations and upgrades for the USCIS, including a $15.2 million to expand the E-Verify program with the purpose of supporting “mandatory use of E-Verify nationwide within three years.”
E-Verify is voluntary except for employers with federal contracts or subcontracts containing the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause requiring the use of E-Verify for a legal workforce. States that already have laws regarding E-Verify use include Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
The mandatory use of E-Verify is part of a larger push by the Administration of President Donald Trump to enforce immigration laws. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released immigration enforcement statistics for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 at “ICE Impact in FY 2017” that show ICE totaled 143,473 administrative arrests in FY 2017, with 110,568 of those arrests occurring after start of President Trump’s Administration on January 20, 2017, a 42 percent increase over the same time period in FY 2016.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. in October of 2017, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan – the Trump Administration’s top immigration enforcement official – said he ordered the time spent on work site enforcement by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to increase “by four to five times” and added that ICE “already increased the number of inspections in work site operations” and would “significantly increase this next fiscal year.”
- Repeal the current paper-based I-9 system and replace it with a completely electronic work eligibility check.
- Phase-in mandatory E-Verify participation for new hires gradually in six-month increments beginning on the date of enactment.
- Allow employers to use E-Verify to check the work eligibility of their current employees in a nondiscriminatory manner.
- Preempt duplicative state laws mandating E-Verify use but give states prominent roles in enforcing the law.
- Allow individuals to lock their Social Security number (SSN) so it cannot be used by another person to get a job.
- Raise penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in violation of the requirements of the bill.
At CourtHouse Concepts, we can help you wade through the E-Verify system and manage the entire process.
Our secure and accurate Form I-9 tools will:
- Virtually eliminate technical errors on the Form I-9
- Help ensure that your workforce is legally authorized to work in the United States
- Simplify and improve the efficiency of your Form I-9 employment verification process
- Compliance is built in, so you are always up-to-date with current forms
- Reduce your exposure to government audits, financial penalties and negative publicity resulting from non-compliance.
Contact us today - we would be happy to answer your questions about E-Verify reporting!