Analysis Of The Legal Workforce Act

by Marguerite Telford –
Center for Immigration Studies –

Modernizing work authorization can prevent fraud and control illegal immigration

WASHINGTON, DC (March 19, 2015) — The Center for Immigration Studies has published a new analysis of the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147), passed recently by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill seeks to reduce the jobs magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the U.S. by revising the failed employer sanctions and work verification portions of existing law, which were added by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) to balance the amnesty that IRCA enacted.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced the legislation to electronically verify the work eligibility of job applicants in order to limit the flow of illegal border crossers and visa overstayers. Technology has changed in the last 30 years; the act recognizes that fact, and builds on existing electronic methods of employment eligibility verification, primarily the well-established and popular E-Verify program, rather than continuing the existing paper-based system that relies on the Form I-9, which suffers from widespread fraud.

“Anyone who believes in national sovereignty, even supporters of another mass amnesty to resolve the situation of the 11 million aliens who came after the last amnesty, should be supporting this bill,” said Dan Cadman, a fellow with the Center and author of the analysis. “Without closing the access to American jobs, wave after wave of illegal aliens will continue to come into this country, adversely impacting American workers and taxpayers, and degrading respect for the law.”

The legislation phases in mandatory participation for new hires depending on the size of the business, raises the penalties on law-breaking employers, creates a new penalty for individuals who knowingly submit false information to the program, and sets time limits for verification.

View the entire analysis at:
View the Center’s E-Verify fact sheet at:

Among the bill’s fraud-prevention measures is a requirement that the Social Security Administration begin sending notices to individuals whose Social Security accounts contain multiple contributions or other unusual activity that might signify ongoing identity theft. Both SSA and DHS may “lock” the account from being used to verify work eligibility, with the procedures to be undertaken initially on a pilot basis before nationwide implementation.

The bill provides states the right to act when the federal government does not, and in circumstances where state or local governments conduct investigations and initiate violation proceedings, they are entitled to retain any fines assessed as the result of a finding of noncompliance.

The analysis also suggests some small additions which could improve the legislation. For example, the bill continues to permit presentation of state driver’s licenses as proof of identity. Since several states have begun issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, they should not be allowed for any purposes relating to work authorization.

Contact: Marguerite Telford

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