Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) penned a new piece of legislation that would make the E-Verify system a permanent tool to help reduce illegal immigration in the United States.
As IJR previously explained, E-Verify is an electronic verification system operated by the federal government that allows employers to check the legal status of the employees they hire. All the employers need to do is submit the employee’s full name, date of birth, and Social Security number into the system to be confirmed.
This ensures that any employee hired by a company has the proper legal status to be working in the United States. Currently, E-Verify is not required by the federal government, though two states — Mississippi and Arizona — do require that employees are E-Verified. All federal employees are required to be E-Verified.
While it seems like Republicans — who have been fighting Democrats to end illegal immigration — would be in sync on E-Verify, that hasn’t been the case as some Republicans see E-Verify as another burdensome regulation on employers.
Others argue that the E-Verify system doesn’t go far enough because illegal immigrants with properly forged documents wouldn’t be flagged because the information would pass a cross-reference.
Republicans will need to continue to battle this out, but Romney’s plan is even simpler than that. The goal of Romney’s Permanent E-Verify Act is to protect the E-Verify system as a whole.
As it stands today, the E-Verify system could be terminated at the whim of Congress because it requires continued renewal to keep the system in operation.
Romney’s bill would make E-Verify a permanent fixture in the federal government to ensure that employers always have a way to verify their employee’s status in the United States, should they chose to do so — which 14% of private companies already do.
In a statement, Romney called his bill a “first step” in combating the employment incentive for illegal immigration into the United States.
“Last month, a record number of 144,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southern border, marking the highest monthly amount in more than thirteen years. Congress needs to act now to address our illegal immigration crisis by closing legal loopholes and removing the magnets—like illegal employment—that drive illegal immigration. My home state of Utah has already taken a step to reduce illegal employment by requiring employers to use E-Verify. I urge my colleagues to take action on this important legislation to make E-Verify permanent, and continue working on long term fixes to secure our border, update our asylum and trafficking laws, and institute mandatory E-Verify nationwide.”
The E-Verify system is set to expire on September 30, 2019, if Congress does not renew or pass Romney’s bill in the meantime.