U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, today praised the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the state of Arizona's right to require employers to use E-Verify.
E-Verify is an easy-to-use, accurate, computer-based, employee verification system that ensures employees have a legal right to work in the United States.
"It is unfortunate that states have to pass laws to protect jobs for the legal workers in their jurisdictions because the federal government has refused to do so," Gallegly said. "While this ruling is a victory for the people of Arizona, until the federal government makes E-Verify mandatory, illegal immigrants will just move to other states that do not require E-Verify."
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert of California and Gallegly are drafting a bill to expand E-Verify.
"The Chipotle case is a clear indictment of the current method of checking employment eligibility," Gallegly said. "E-Verify is verifiably more effective and efficient and is less time-consuming and costly for employers."
Chipotle, which runs a chain of restaurants in the United States, was forced to fire about 500 workers after Immigration and Customs Enforcement audits this year of its restaurants in Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, DC. ICE audited the company's I-9 forms -- the current method of checking employment eligibility -- and found in hundreds of cases that the birth certificates, licenses and other documentation used to prove eligibility were fraudulent. The audit continues in restaurants in other jurisdictions.
E-Verify, on the other hand, simply matches a person's name, Social Security number and birth date against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. Its accuracy rate is far superior to I-9 forms, it lowers costs for employers and it is race neutral. Although the program is currently voluntary, more than 250,000 American employers willingly use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week.
E-Verify grew from a program Gallegly passed into law in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. It was then called the Basic Pilot Program.