America’s Economy Needs Real Solutions, Not the Legal Workforce Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org
Belle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

Washington, DC - Today, as the House Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee considers the "Legal Workforce Act," the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recommends that Congress reject this unworkable bill which would do more harm than good to our nation's economy. The Legal Workforce Act would impose new mandates on American companies and their newly hired workers without providing adequate protections for either businesses or workers.

"E-Verify has the potential to be an important tool in the effort to address unauthorized employment, but if done in isolation as the Legal Workforce Act does, it would inflict tremendous harm on American workers, businesses and the economy," said AILA President Leslie Holman. She continued, "We must consider the costs of requiring virtually all employers to use this type of program within just two years of enactment.

"The rush to implement E-Verify across the board is virtually guaranteed to hurt thousands of authorized U.S. workers - people who need good jobs but will be erroneously denied employment authorization by errors in the system. Looking at the 2012 E-Verify error rate, about 150,000 authorized workers could be affected, facing additional bureaucratic hurdles when getting a job if E-Verify were made mandatory.

"The problems with the Legal Workforce Act don't end there. It would be expensive: increasing the federal budget deficit by $30 billion and costing government and private employers over $1.2 billion to implement. The bill would also hit small businesses particularly hard, imposing significant burdens on very small firms that may not even have human resource departments but would still have to use the new system, even those with only a single employee.

"This sort of system should only be implemented if Congress first does its job to address the status of unauthorized workers because until that happens, such a bill will greatly disrupt major sectors of our economy such as the agricultural industry. Unfortunately, on its own this measure represents yet another flawed enforcement-only effort. We must get employment verification right, but doing so requires implementing it in a way that works. The last thing the American people need is a new government mandate that ends up hurting authorized workers and the businesses ready to hire them," concluded Holman.

What is E-Verify? E-Verify is an existing federal web-based program through which U.S. business can attempt to verify the work authorization status of new hires. Use of E-Verify is voluntary except where state law requires businesses to use it as well as in certain sectors of government where its use is mandatory.

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15020460.