One state representative in Rhode Island hopes to reverse a 2011 decision to make E-Verify voluntary.
Representative Robert Nardolillo (R-Dist. 28, Coventry) stated he will propose legislation in 2017 to reinstate the federal background check system in The Ocean State. In 2014 then-Governor Lincoln Chafee signed an executive order that protected illegal immigrants in Rhode Island. A few years before that he issued an executive order that made E-Verify voluntary in the state. However, Nardolillo believes that's bad for business.
"This is a small business killer," Nardolillo said in a press release. "By harboring illegal immigrants and allowing them to work in our state, without proper documentation, jobs are being taken away from well-deserving Rhode Island citizens and small businesses are on the hook for paying fines for breaking the law. Simple logic tells me and should tell everyone, this is a lose-lose for all Rhode Islanders. E-Verify must be reinstated to assist our small business community, by saving jobs and cutting unnecessary costs."
"There are 20 states that require some or all employers to use E-Verify."
Rhode Island could become the 21st state with E-Verify requirements
Nardolillo's reason for proposing the legislation is similar to that of individuals who back making E-Verify mandatory nationwide. By doing so, they believe, the government can take away a major temptation for people who cross the border illegally: employment. The representative explained that he saw a number of illegal immigrants testify in 2016 that they needed driver's licenses to get to work. He noted that testimony was proof individuals not authorized to work in the U.S. are, in fact, gaining employment anyway.
There are 20 states that require some or all employers to use E-Verify, the press release noted. The federal background verification system checks identification information against state and federal databases to confirm new hires are who they say they are. The majority of the states mandated E-Verify through legislation, while two did so via executive order.
Rhode Island has a history with E-Verify
Rhode Island is set for a potential return to E-Verify nearly a decade after it was first declared a requirement for employers in the state. In 2008 then-Governor Don Carcier issued an executive order that made the system mandatory for all employers in the state, LawLogix explained. Chafee reversed this decision in 2011. Nardolillo's bill would make Rhode Island the only state in New England to mandate E-Verify for all employers.
E-Verify uses a new hire's Social Security number, and other identification such as a driver's license, to verify his or her identity.
"It is imperative that we take great care, especially in today's day and age, in how our economically-struggling state is managed." Nardolillo explained. "Rhode Island taxpayers are already severely over-taxed, and the cost of putting more Rhode Islanders out of work, when our current unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, well over the national average, by employing illegal immigrants, is irresponsible to our legal citizens. When illegals take up residency in Rhode Island, it puts a burden on our small business community, our human resources, law enforcement personnel, educational facilities, and other government institutions."
Employers in Rhode Island may soon be required to use E-Verify by state law. It is important to ensure staff is trained on proper use of the background verification system to avoid penalties stemming from violations such as discrimination or improper resolution of a Tentative Nonconfirmation. In addition to Nardolillo's bill, there is a chance the federal government takes a look at making E-Verify mandatory for employers nationwide to better manage immigration. President Donald Trump, who campaigned on immigration, is likely to take steps to tighten border security, something some believe E-Verify could help with.