Legal Workforce Act proposed by Calvert

U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) on Jan. 12 led six of his Republican colleagues in introducing legislation that would require employers in the United States to verify that potential hires are not unauthorized aliens.  

“Like most Americans, I believe American jobs should only go to people legally authorized to work in our country,” Rep. Calvert said. “We want and need immigrants to come to our nation to contribute to our economic success, but we must also remain a sovereign nation governed by the rule of law.”

Specifically, the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 319, would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make mandatory and permanent requirements related to using an electronic employment eligibility verification system, according to the text of the bill. 

“The Legal Workforce Act represents a crucial step towards fixing our broken immigration system,” the congressman said. “Until we have a mandatory workforce verification system — like E-Verify — in place, immigrants will have an incentive to come into our country through illegal means.”

If enacted, H.R. 319 would repeal the requirements of the current paper-based I-9 system and replace it with an electronic work eligibility check, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Calvert’s office, and would gradually phase in mandatory E-Verify participation for new hires in six-month increments beginning on the date of enactment.

Additionally, H.R. 319 would increase penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in violation of the bill’s requirements, and would create a penalty for employees or employers who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system, the summary says.

The measure also would grant employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use E-Verify in good faith, and through no fault of their own, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation, states the summary.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) is among the six original cosponsors of H.R. 319, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Judiciary; Ways and Means; and Education and the Workforce committees.