On February 10, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing, “E-Verify – Preserving Jobs for American Workers,” in which it considered whether to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R–TX ) favors the idea, as does the Subcommittee’s Chairman, Representative Elton Gallegly (R–CA). In introducing his reasons for supporting the expansion of E-Verify electronic employment verification program, Representative Smith stated: “With unemployment over 9% now for 21 months, jobs are scarce and families are worried. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, seven million people are working in the U.S. illegally. These jobs should go to legal workers.”
Those in favor of requiring all employers to use E-Verify contend that independent analyses concerning E-Verify by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and private-sector firm Westat confirm that the program quickly and accurately authenticates legal work status. Moreover, they note that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented measures to improve E-Verify’s accuracy, such as a photo screening tool that allows an employer to check the photos on Employment Authorization Documents and green cards against images stored in USCIS databases.
The Washington Post, however, reports that opinions in the business community vary. U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials claim the reaction among members is mixed. For smaller businesses, or those in highly mobile industries, e.g., construction firms, the system presents additional practical and technological challenges. Certain sectors, e.g., agriculture, oppose the proposition, arguing that removing unauthorized workers from the labor force would destabilize the entire sector. The vice president of the American Nursery & Landscape Association stated: "Simply put, any E-Verify expansion that comes without meaningful immigration reform would be disastrous for the American agricultural economy. It will leave the United States importing food and exporting jobs."