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Federal E-Verify bill goes before House Judiciary Committee

Many businesses across the country, including businesses in Florida, voluntarily use the federal E-Verify system when verifying a job applicant's employment eligibility in the United States. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee says "nearly 290,000 American employers use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week."

Currently, use of the E-Verify system is generally voluntary for private businesses. Federal Contractors are required to use the E-Verify system. State employers in Florida are also required to use the system under an executive order of the Governor. A measure is making its way through the House that may make use of E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. businesses.

Smith reportedly has previously called on President Obama to make use of the E-Verify system part of the president's jobs plan. He is a proponent of a measure known as the Legal Workforce Act. On September 15, the United States House Judiciary Committee is expected to consider the proposed Act. The bill will be considered in what is commonly referred to as a "mark up" session. House Judiciary Committee members will review viewpoints expressed in prior hearings on the subject.

Smith says the vast majority of individuals who are screened through the E-Verify system are immediately confirmed as eligible to work in the United States. He says roughly one-half percent of the potential workers are rejected under the program. The Department of Homeland Security acknowledges that a number of those individuals are rejected in error. Critics of the system say the federal error essentially bars eligible workers from getting a job, until the error is corrected.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the National Association of Homebuilders reportedly support use of the E-Verify System. However, other organizations and many agricultural producers are against mandatory use of the system.

Employment eligibility verification issues, including I-9 compliance issues, can be a concern for many Florida businesses. Companies that have questions regarding the state of employment eligibility verification and compliance can consult with an experienced immigration attorney to help ensure the business is in compliance with federal requirements.

Source: The Hill, "E-Verify bill goes to committee markup," Gautham Nagesh, Sept. 13, 2011

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