The Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Wednesday on the Legal Workforce Act, a bill authored by Rep. Lamar Smith  (R-TX), who will be reintroducing the bill into the new Congress.

The Legal Workforce Act expands E-Verify across the United States and makes the program mandatory in order to discourage illegal immigration and and ensure jobs are made available only to those authorized to legally work in the United States.  E-Verify is a web-based program created in 1996 and operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and is used by nearly 575,000 American employers voluntarily.

Testifying at the hearing were:

  • Randel Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce;
  • Angelo Amador, Senior Vice President and Regulatory Counsel, National Restaurant Association;
  • Jill Blitstein, Internal Employment Manage, Human resources,North Carolina State University
  •  Chuck Conner, President and CEO, National Council of Farm Cooperatives.

The bill  amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to require employers to attest, subject to fines and business license revocation, that they have confirmed that their workers are authorized to work in the country via the E-Verify system. The bill would phase in the E-Verify requirement in six-month intervals and mandates that all employers use the system within two years of enactment.

The measure would also seek to combat identity theft by allowing people to “lock” their Social Security numbers, so the numbers cannot be used by others to gain work authorization. The Department of Homeland Security would also be able to lock numbers based on “a pattern of unusual multiple use.”

The Food Manufacturers Immigration Coalition, of which the National Chicken Council is a member, plus the Council for Global Immigration, and the Society of Human Resources submitted written testimony.  The testimony is here.