Weekly Columns

E-Verify: Holding Employers Accountable

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of July 5, 2011

Jul 05 2011

Unemployed Arkansans are struggling to find jobs to support their families and put food on the table. The unemployment level nationwide continues to increase and because of uncertainties in regulations from federal agencies, our job creators are their halting hiring practices. In this economic environment I believe we must take steps to provide hardworking Americans with job opportunities and American workers must be given an advantage over illegal immigrants in the workplace.

I believe one of the best ways to ensure this is done is by making it mandatory for employers to verify the work eligibility of new hires. This can be accomplished through E-verify, a web-based tool that allows employers to confirm eligibility of a job candidate by their name and Social Security number.

E-verify has a proven track record of combating the hiring of illegal immigrants and is currently used by nearly 270,000 employers nationwide. I recently cosponsored legislation to make E-verify permanent and mandatory for all employers. This is commonsense technology that allows us to hold employers accountable and helps them abide by the law.

The legislation gives businesses one year to comply with the electronic verification program and also increases the penalties for employers who do not use the system or knowingly hire undocumented workers.

We have an immigration crisis on our hands, and I believe the E-verify system is a way to start working toward a solution to the problem that transcends into other issues our government faces today including our struggling economy and our education system.  Our nation admits one million immigrants each year, but those who arrive illegally to our nation have broken the law and must be held accountable. So to, should the employers who knowingly hire them. When federal laws go unenforced, it leaves cash-strapped local and state governments to fend for themselves and find resources they do not have to absorb millions of undocumented workers.

While the current administration is encouraging amnesty to illegal immigrants, I believe those who come into our nation illegally should not be rewarded for their actions. I will continue to vote against President Obama’s amnesty proposals, as I did as a member of the House of Representatives.

I believe firmer E-verify rules can make an impact on the illegal immigrants who cross our borders undetected, and prevent millions of illegal immigrants from infringing upon every legal citizen’s right to pursue the American dream.

With millions unemployed in the United States, I believe it is vital that we give employers the right tools to ensure they aren’t hiring illegal workers so they may contribute to improving the job market.