House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-CA) today criticized a California bill that would allow businesses in the state to opt-out of E-Verify. This bill, the Employment Acceleration Act of 2011 (A.B. 1236), was passed earlier this week by the California State Senate. The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown's desk for signature.
Chairman Smith: "California has the second highest unemployment rate in the U.S., yet elected officials in Sacramento just sent a bill to the Governor's desk that will further diminish job opportunities. California's E-Verify opt-out bill shows exactly why we need a federal E-Verify law. Without a federal law on the books, some states -- including those with the largest illegal immigrant populations, such as California -- will be free to hire illegal workers.
"That's why I have introduced the Legal Workforce Act. This bill requires all U.S. employers to use E-Verify to check whether prospective employees are legally authorized to work in the U.S. This program is free, quick and easy to use -- those eligible to work are immediately confirmed 99.5 percent of the time. This bill is one of the most significant steps we can take to put millions of Americans back to work and curb incentives that drive illegal immigration."
Chairman Gallegly: "Illegal immigration cost Californians a net of more than $20 billion in 2010 in services and incarceration costs. Yet California continues to provide magnets to draw illegal immigrants to the state. That includes free education for illegal immigrant adults, sanctuary cities and -- soon -- an opt-out for E-Verify.
"Illegal immigration will not subside until we remove the magnets, including the largest one, a job. California's bill to prohibit cities and counties from requiring employers to use E-Verify is one of the reasons I am working with Chairman Smith to pass a federal law to make it mandatory for all employers in the United States. It has a 98 percent accuracy rate, which is far better than the antiquated I-9 forms now used."
In June, Chairman Smith introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164). Chairman Gallegly is an original cosponsor. This bill could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify.
A federal E-Verify law for all U.S. employers is essential to protecting jobs for American workers and reducing the jobs magnet that encourages illegal immigration. Only 17 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia have an E-Verify mandate in place. And unfortunately, these state laws are only applied in a limited way or are rarely enforced.