SENATOR JULIAN B. GARRETT

   LEGISLATIVE NEWS

  Statehouse, Des Moines, IA 50319         

                                    Julian.Garrett@legis.iowa.gov                     

  E-Verify Review

The murder of Mollie Tibbetts has generated discussion of the federal E-Verify program. The alleged killer’s employer at first claimed that they had checked on his eligibility for employment through the E-Verify program, and he passed, meaning that he could be hired legally. Shortly thereafter they admitted that they had not used the E-Verify program. It has now been established that the alleged killer was not in the country legally, and could not be hired legally in the U. S. E-Verify is not mandatory, but many employers throughout the U. S. and Iowa use it voluntarily to be sure that they are not violating federal law when they hire employees. You may remember that for the past several years, I have introduced a bill (most recently Senate File 412) to require Iowa employers to use E-Verify when hiring employees. Though most Republican Senators support the bill, I have not yet been able to get it passed.  

Here is the official description of the E-Verify system:

E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”

Addressing this issue at the state level is a little tricky.  Federal law found in 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(2) pre-empts most state authority in the area of immigration, “other than through licensing and similar laws.”

The State of Arizona passed a law several years ago making E-Verify mandatory, and providing for the revoking of licenses to do business in the state for those who hire people in the state illegally. The term “license” is defined rather broadly. The law was challenged and the case went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. That court ruled that the law was not in conflict with the pre-emption provisions of federal law. Because the legality of the law had been upheld, I modeled my bill after the Arizona law. A number of other states now have mandatory E-Verify laws.

I notice that ICE has issued a detainer request for the defendant in this case. Under my bill, SF 481, that we passed in the legislature last session, if this defendant would be scheduled for release, which seems very unlikely in light of the $5 million bond, the local authorities would be obligated to turn him over to ICE instead of releasing him into the community.

I will continue to work to get the E-Verify bill passed.


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LEGISLATIVE NEWS-3-19-2018.rtf
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Julian Garrett,
Apr 6, 2018, 4:59 PM
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