California Passes Law Against Mandatory E-Verify

While many states are passing laws requiring E-Verify, California appears to be going the opposite direction.

The Empoyment Acceleration Act of 2011 forbids California, as well as any of its cities, counties, and special districts, from requiring E-Verify, except where required by federal law or to receive federal funds, according to Workforce.  Federal law currently requires federal contractors to run employees through the online system, which verifies employees' eligibility to work in the United States.

This legislation comes at a time when many other states are passing laws requiring their employers to use E-Verify.  In fact, 10 states passed laws this year requiring the use of E-Verify, and Congress is considering the Legal Workforce Act of 2011, which would require most American employers to use E-Verify.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California ban was passed to alleviate unnecessary burden on businesses and due to concerns about E-Verify's accuracy.  E-Verify simply verifies that the information the employer enters from the employee's I-9 matches information stored in federal databases for the name entered.  But the system is not able to verify that the employee presenting the information is who they say they are, and the documents required by the I-9 (driver's license, Social Security Card, etc.) can easily be stolen.  The system also depends on federal records being completely accurate.

The new law has upset activists against illegal immigration who have worked to get California cities to require E-Verify.  Several cities do have ordinances requiring E-Verify and will now have to comply with the state law instead.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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