WASHINGTON – The Legal Workforce Act, a bill that would require employers throughout the US to use the electronic employment-verification program known as E-verify, passed on Sept. 21 out of the House Judiciary Committee. The American Meat Institute, a strong proponent of the E-verify program, supports its mandatory application to ensure the legal work status of job applicants and employees in the US.

As passed out of the committee, the bill also contains a number of provisions advocated by AMI including:

• Reducing the number of documents that can be used to establish legal status, which will help employers achieve compliance with verification rules without exposure to document fraud problems.
• A coordination between the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure Social Security numbers are not being used fraudulently.
• Safeguards for employers who attempt to verify, in good faith, the legal status of their workforce;
• Preempting state and local laws that would address the costs and difficulty of complying with multiple and differing state and local laws for businesses operating in multiple states.
• Creating a voluntary biometric pilot program to ensure the accuracy of verification results and lessen the burden on employers and employees.

Introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the bill’s next step would be approval by the full House.