Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reintroduced legislation to help businesses comply with immigration laws by certifying that their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. The “Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act” would permanently authorize and expand the E-Verify program, an internet-based program. The bill requires employers to use the program within one year of enactment to determine workers’ eligibility. Employers must terminate workers that E-Verify cannot confirm as legally work-authorized, and those employers are subject to increased penalties.
Grassley said that businesses nationwide use E-Verify to help them comply with our immigration laws, reduce illegal immigration incentives, and provide Americans and other legal workers job safeguards. Expanding the system to every workplace, Grassley added, will improve all businesses’ accountability “and take an important step toward putting American workers first.”
In addition to the most obvious E-Verify advantage – protecting U.S. jobs – the program has countless other indirect benefits. Illegal border crossings and visa overstays would be dramatically reduced or eliminated once unscrupulous employers could no longer hire illegal aliens.
Because E-Verify would eliminate the jobs magnet, Customs and Border Protection agents, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would be, in large part, relieved of the headaches of asking for identification from non-English speaking foreign nationals. Freed from the tedium of dealing with job seekers, law enforcement personnel could, assuming the White House and the Department of Homeland Security allow them to carry out their duties, including pursuing and arresting cartel criminals and human traffickers. With E-Verify in place at work sites, people who can’t get jobs will move home voluntarily. Family separation would become a thing of the past.
A Carnegie Mellon University study confirmed that Arizona’s mandatory E-Verify law played an important role in self-deportation among illegal immigrants coming from and returning to Mexico. The study noted that, after E-Verify was mandated, the average return migration rate to Mexican states nearly quadrupled over the time period observed. Mexican states like Sonora, where roughly 50 percent of migrants had previously settled in Arizona, experienced 30 percent larger growth in its return migration rate compared to a state with weaker connections to Arizona.
Another E-Verify advantage is that implementing the program would help end identity theft, a huge problem which in 2020 created losses to unsuspecting consumers that totaled $56 billion. Employee information taken from an I-9 form, the paper-based employee eligibility verification form used for all new hires, is compared against existing Social Security Administration and DHS databases. If the data doesn’t match, then the probability is that the SSN doesn’t belong to the applicant. Nancy Berryhill, in 2018 an Acting Commissioner of Social Security, testified to the House Subcommittee on Social Security. She concluded: “Mandatory use of E‑Verify by employers would help reduce the incidence of fraudulent use of SSNs.”
With the protections that E-Verify offers for American workers, and the deterrent that creates against illegal immigration, the wonder is why past bills, similar in most respects and dating back more than three decades, haven’t received congressional traction. The harsh, but inescapable, truth is that the donor class wants cheap labor, and Congress’ objective is to keep donors happy, U.S. workers be damned.