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You are here: News Congress Proposes "Legal Workforce Act"


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Congress Proposes "Legal Workforce Act"

Congress is at it again. While well intended, the U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to pass a bill that would cause tremendous disruption to vast sections of the U.S. economy. Agriculture, small manufacturing, food processing, construction industries will all be detrimentally impacted if this bill becomes law.

Today, February 4, 2015 the Immigration Sub-Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill called the "Legal Workforce Act." Attorney Win Eaton, a Certified Immigration specialist believes the bill would be destructive on the U.S. economy and seriously harm U.S. businesses, particularly small businesses struggling to survive in a faltering economy. The bill would impose new burdensome mandates on all American employers and their recently hired workers. Under the “Legal workforce Act” all employers would be forced to use the flawed E-Verify system. The act fails to provide assurance of accurate data and therefore fails to adequately protect employers or workers.

E-Verify could and perhaps should be an important component of any plan that is thoughtfully crafted to address unauthorized employment, BUT only if adequate safeguards are included to protect employers and employees. The Legal Workforce Act as proposed would require virtually all U.S. employers to use E-Verify within two short years of the date the act becomes law. While this may sound like a reasonable period of time, I have a personal story to illustrate why the E-Verify system is not yet ready for complete implementation.

A couple of years ago, our small law firm received a Social Security “No Match” letter for our bookkeeper. The bookkeeper was born in the U.S. to U.S. Citizen parents. The problem was that she married more than 35 years earlier and changed her last name to that of her husband. The Social Security Administration gave the employer a very short time to verify the bookkeeper’s documents or the employer must terminate the bookkeeper. We were shocked!!! We were able to verify the information but not within the allotted timeframe. In the case of our bookkeeper we and she suffered an inconvenience. In many cases, employees have lost their jobs. Some employers have endured wrongful termination law suits simply because they tried to follow the rules as they understood was required.

In fact, if the “Legal Workforce Act” becomes law as proposed, thousands of legal U.S. workers and many U.S. Citizens will be hurt. Employers will suffer costly disruption and many vulnerable workers will be erroneously denied employment authorization because of errors in the system. In 2012, due to errors in the E-Verify system, approximately 150,000 legal workers and U.S. Citizens could have been adversely affected.

The smallest U.S. businesses would pay a particularly high price if this act is adopted and becomes law. There are no limits on the number of employees subject to the act. An employer with ONE employee would be required to use the system or face substantial financial penalties. Mom and Pop business are not equipped with human resource departments to administer additional government bureaucratic documents nor should they.

In addition, estimates are that the “Legal Workforce Act would increase the federal budget deficit by $30 billion and the cost of implementation to government and private employers would total more than $1.2 billion.


Win Eaton, Esq.

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