Immigration Issues Remain High Concern in House of Representatives

This month the House Judiciary Committee approved the “Legal Workforce Act”, a bill introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) intended to protect jobs for legal workers by requiring employers to confirm the eligibility of employees through the E-Verify system. The entire House of Representatives will now consider the bill. E-Verify cross-references an employee’s social security number against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to confirm employees’ work eligibility, providing results in less than two minutes that are 99.7% accurate.

If signed into law, the bill would require employers to gradually phase-in the use of E-Verify for new hires, permits voluntary use by employers of E-Verify for current employees, raises penalties on employers who knowingly hire ineligible workers and employees who knowingly provide false information, and provides safe harbor from prosecution for employers if they use E-Verify in good faith but receive incorrect information regarding worker eligibility, among other provisions.

In addition, on February 25, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The Unconstitutionality of President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration.” The hearing was in response to the President’s announcement of several executive actions in November 2014, including expanding the population of children eligible to remain in the United States and to receive work authorization and allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request employment authorization for three years, among others.

The President’s actions are expected to impact more than 4 million undocumented individuals. Republicans in the House argue that the President does not have the authority for such unilateral action, and twenty-six states have also filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this order. A federal judge has issued a temporary block on the President’s order.

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