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Opinion: On its own, E-Verify places too heavy a burden on small businesses

By David Borris, Cristina McNeil and ReShonda Young May 17, 2013

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday held hearings on immigration reform proposals. But instead of taking up a comprehensive package like the Senate, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) have floated a stand-alone bill that would make the E-Verify electronic employment verification system mandatory for all employers.
The House and Senate are pursuing two different paths to mandating E-Verify. (JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS)

The E-Verify program is an online program run by the government that uses a federal database to check the work eligibility of prospective job candidates. A targeted legislative proposal to require all employers to use this program would come at a serious cost to small business owners, particularly if not packaged with broader immigration reform.

Bloomberg Government estimated in 2010 that making E-Verify checks mandatory would cost employers $2.7 billion to comply, with the vast majority of those costs falling on small businesses.

 
 
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