Smith Introduces Bill to Protect Jobs for Americans and Legal Workers
WASHINGTON – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 3711) to save jobs for citizens and legal workers by requiring U.S. employers to check the work eligibility of all future hires through the E-Verify system. Congressman Smith has a long-standing interest in E-Verify’s success; his 1996 bill created the pilot for the 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.).
E-Verify, 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 99.8% 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. A summary of key components of the Legal Workforce Act can be found here.
On Thursday, Rep. Smith held a press conference on announcing the introduction of the legislation, and another bill he plans to introduce, the Immigration in the National Interest Act. Video of the press conference can be found here.
Congressman Smith, Chairman Goodlatte, and Congressman Calvert issued the following statements today on the introduction of the Legal Workforce Act.
Congressman Smith: “The Legal Workforce Act puts legal workers first and enjoys broad support from the American people. It is free, quick, easy-to-use and effective.
“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, this bill will ensure that jobs only go to legal workers.
“A recent poll showed that 70 percent of voters support legislation that makes it illegal for businesses in the U.S. to hire illegal immigrants.
“I thank Chairman Goodlatte for his continued commitment to this legislation and to securing our border.”
Chairman Goodlatte: “The Legal Workforce Act brings our nation’s employment eligibility system into the 21st century. Rather than relying on the current paper-based I-9 system that is susceptible to fraud, this bill requires all U.S. employers to use a web-based system, E-Verify. This program takes less than two minutes to use and easily identifies whether or not a new employee is allowed to work in the United States.
“Expanding E-Verify nationwide is a critical component to the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and will help maintain the integrity of our immigration system for the years ahead. I thank Congressman Smith for the many years he has worked on this important bill and look forward to the House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of it soon. ”
Congressman Calvert: “Mandatory E-Verify is long overdue. The program is ready to go mandatory and the Legal Workforce Act will deliver on the promise to ensure that American jobs go to American workers and those authorized to work in the U.S. Chairman Smith and Chairman Goodlatte continue to demonstrate tremendous leadership in advancing the use of E-Verify and protecting American workers.”