Amid Immigration Reform Push, Everify Emerges

May 14, 2011

President Obama’s recent investment in pushing immigration reform has thrust the mandated use of Everify by employers back into the spotlight both via the administrations immigration reform blueprint and within deliberations on Capitol Hill.

President Obama made his first major immigration reform speech since July 2010 in El Paso, Texas last week. The speech was the culmination of several recent efforts by the administration to push for congressional action on immigration reform. The speech was also used to unveil the administration’s immigration reform blueprint.

The President’s speech outlined recent increased security and enforcement efforts while connecting the need for immigration reform to jobs and the economy, calling immigration reform “an economic imperative.”

The 34-page blueprint provides more details on the President’s vision, including  a focus on four points: responsibility by the federal government to secure the border; accountability for businesses that break the law by exploiting undocumented workers; strengthening economic competitiveness by improving the legal immigrationsystem; and, providing a path  to legalization for undocumented workers already in the United States by requiring illegal immigrants to register, undergo a background check, pay taxes and a penalty, and learn English.

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is preparing to introduce legislation this summer that is similar to at least one notion in the President’s plan: employing a mandated Everify system to ensure employers hire legal workers.

NSBA’s has advocated for small business concerns with Everify, namely concerning issues pertaining to safe harbors for small businesses that conduct themselves in good faith during the hiring process. Additionally, policymakers are wrestling with other issues in terms of immigration reform policy, including whether or not to do away with the current I-9 system and just have E-Verify; require a telephonic E-Verify option since some businesses do not have internet access; and, whether or not to require all employees to be checked by the system or just new hires.

Despite the fact that the 2012 elections are a good ways away, there is no doubt a large political motivation to invest in immigration reform. Latino voters provide a large voting block and immigration reform clearly appeals to the constituency; thus, expect to see more efforts on immigration reform in the coming months.

At this point, comprehensive immigration reform is a long-shot. Nonetheless, NSBA will continue to advocate for the principles set forth in the immigration reform policy brief. Continue to watch the NSBA Web site for more information as it is made available.

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