E-Verify Bill to have Major Impact On Agriculture, Immigrants & Latino Votes in 2012
The introduction of the E-Verify bill could have a lasting impact on everyone from migrant workers to the president of the United States of America.
The Legal Workforce Act, which was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, revived the debate on the lasting impacts that such measure could have ramifications across the entire spectrum.
The proposed bill makes it mandatory for all U.S. businesses to verify the legal status of new workers through a government database.
Rep. Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, defended the proposed legislation by saying that aside from verifying if workers are in the country legally, it would also put a dent in the alarming rate of unemployment.
In a statement, Smith said, “With unemployment at 9 percent, jobs are scarce. Despite record unemployment, seven million people work in the U.S. illegally. These jobs should go to legal workers.”
He also added, “E-Verify is a successful program to help ensure that jobs are reserved for citizens and legal workers. The ‘E’ in E-Verify could just as well stand for ‘easy’ and ‘effective.’ It takes just a few minutes to use and easily confirms 99.5 percent of work-eligible employees. There is no other legislation that can be enacted that will create more jobs for American workers.”
The bill would allow a three-year window for the agriculture industry – who have been opposing E-Verify because of the impact on legal immigrant workers and the effect it would have on their workforce – to screen their new hires for eligibility.
With regards to the agricultural industry, Smith said, “We recognize that the agriculture industry is a special situation and we need to treat them differently.”