Earlier this week, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill requiring all employers to use E-Verify, an electronic program run by the federal government that compares employee’s information from their I-9 applications, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, with U.S. government records in order to verify potential employee’s immigration status.
The goals of this bill are to reduce illegal immigration and open jobs to American citizens. Texas Representative Lamar Smith, a major supporter of the bill, described its goals as, “a jobs killer, but only for illegal workers. For Americans and legal workers, it is a jobs protector.”
Farmers, however, are worried about the impact of this bill if it is made into law. Many farmers in the United States rely on undocumented labor. The president of the Fresno, California based Nisei Farmers League claimed that none of his workers would qualify with the new law. Farmers in Georgia and Alabama, both of whom have passed harsh immigration restrictions, have hemorrhaged thousands of jobs in the past several months.
California farm groups, led by California Representative Dan Lungren, attempted to connect an agricultural work visa program to the E-Verify bill in order to guarantee adequate farm labor across the country. This addition was voted down in committee.
While the bill has passed the Judiciary Committee, farm groups hope that it can be stopped or amended on the House floor or in the U.S. Senate.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer