More effective verification goal
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2029 - New Employee Verification Act) that would replace the current federal employee verification system - E-Verify – with a more effective program.
While it is technically true that Giffords wants to end the E-Verify program as reported in The Sun ("Lawmaker wants to scrap E-Verify system," April 23), it is more accurate to say that she wants to replace it with a new paperless Electronic Employment Verification System (EEVS) that is tougher, fairer and that would apply to every company in the United States.
Currently, Arizona and a few other locations have laws that require employers to participate in the E-Verify program even though there is no federal mandate for enrollment. The New Employer Verification Act (NEVA) would require all employers throughout the nation to use the new system to ensure that workers are legal.
A federal program would have a more meaningful impact to curb illegal hires than ones that are imposed on a state by state basis.
NEVA provides real sanctions for companies that fail to use the system and evade the law. It systematically increases the civil and criminal penalties for hiring illegal workers. In some cases, the penalties under the NEVA are more than 10 times the current federal penalty.
The EEVS is a more accurate and user-friendly system than what is currently available. Employers confirm eligibility by entering employee identification data through a state's "new hire" reporting program, a database that more than 90 percent of employers currently use.
By implementing a system that is more reliable and efficient than E-Verify, Giffords' legislation not only safeguards U.S. citizens' identities and protects against immigrants who commit identity fraud, it also levels the playing field by requiring employers in all states to adhere to the same employment requirements.
As the country moves towards mandatory employee verification, her effort is a thoughtful step forward.
President, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry