Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Smith Bill to Save Jobs for American Workers Passes the Judiciary Committee

Oct 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, legislation authored and introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to save jobs for American workers and reduce illegal immigration passed the House Judiciary Committee. The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 3711) requires U.S. employers to check the work eligibility of all new hires through the E-Verify system. Congressman Smith has a long-standing interest in E-Verify’s success since his 1996 immigration bill, which became law, created the pilot for the verification system. Congressman Smith was joined in introducing the bill by coauthors House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Congressman Ken Calvert (R-Calif.).

The bill passed by a vote of 20-10.

Congressman Smith: “The Legal Workforce Act saves jobs for American workers at a time when nearly 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Meanwhile, seven million people are working in the United States illegally. By expanding the E-Verify system to all U.S. employers, employers will check the work authorization of new employees to ensure that the jobs only go to Americans and legal workers.

“E-Verify is easy to use and liked by the American people. A September 2017 Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 82% of voters favor requiring business owners to check the immigration status of employees they hire.  E-Verify receives the most public support of any proposed immigration reform.

“I thank Chairman Goodlatte and Congressman Calvert for their continued commitment to this legislation and to securing our border.”

E-Verify, which is operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), checks the social security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to help ensure that they are genuinely eligible to work in the U.S. The program quickly confirms 99% of work-eligible employees and takes less than two minutes to use. Over 740,000 American employers currently use E-Verify and 83% of America’s employers support a mandatory electronic verification system.

In a short video, Congressman Smith explains how to use E-Verify. Video of Congressman Smith’s opening statement at the mark-up hearing for the Legal Workforce Act can be watched here.

In September, Rep. Smith held a press conference on announcing the introduction of this legislation, and another bill he introduced the Immigration in the National Interest Act. Video of the press conference can be found here.