NAHB Supports E-Verify Bill that Works for Employers

Filed in Capitol Hill, Labor, Safety and Health by on February 4, 2015 0 Comments

socialsecuritycardThe House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee held a hearing today on the Legal Workforce Act, legislation introduced in the previous Congress by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that would address the illegal immigration issue.

The NAHB-supported measure would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, a government-run online verification system that uses Social Security numbers to check the identity and work authorization of all new hires.

Under current law, E-Verify is voluntary.

Prior to the hearing, NAHB sent a letter to House lawmakers in support of the legislation, noting that it “creates a fair, efficient and workable employee verification system that gives employers clarity with regard to their duties and obligations.”

Further, the Legal Workforce Act ensures that all U.S. employers are held accountable only for the work authorization status of their direct employees, meaning that home builders would not be required to verify their subcontractors or subcontractors’ workers. Also of note, the measure would maintain the “knowing” liability standard under current law. NAHB supports this requirement, which means that employers would only be held accountable if they knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.

The measure also contains a robust safe harbor for employers to ensure that those who are using the system in good faith will not be held accountable for errors in the E-Verify system.

The bill includes measures to ensure that the system is workable not only for large U.S. employers, but also for small businesses that make up the bulk of NAHB members. The Legal Workforce Act would provide small firms with important tools, including toll-free telephone access to the system; the opportunity for employers to begin the verification process as soon as possible; and a phase-in to the program based on business size, ensuring that larger employers enter the system first, followed by a gradual inclusion of smaller businesses.

NAHB will work with lawmakers to support the Legal Workforce Act in its current form and oppose any amendments that would undermine its workability for employers.

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