Cranston state Rep. Peter G. Palumbo has introduced a bill that would require businesses to comply with the federal E-Verify program.
If passed, the bill would land on the desk of Governor Lincoln Chafee, who signed an executive order terminating the state's participation in the E-Verify system shortly after he took office in 2011.
In a release, Palumbo said the E-Verify program ensures local employers don't hire illegal immigrants — an issue of "statewide concern" since they "place an undue economic burden on employers who attempt to hire only persons authorized to work here."
Illegal immigrants are a "significant factor" in major budget issues facing the state and taxpayers foot the bill in increased education, health care and criminal justice costs, Palumbo said.
“There is simply no effective way to protect our citizens and stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our state without enforcing the laws that already exist and stopping those who harbor or hire illegal workers,” he said. “E-Verify is an easy and effective means to do that.”
The Department of Labor and Training would be responsible for providing to the Investigation Division of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement a list of those employers who fail to comply. The bill requires employers to immediately terminate the employment of any worker upon receipt of a final notice from the Department of Homeland Security of non-confirmation of that individual’s work eligibility.
The legislation, 2013-H 5236, would create a new chapter of state law, E-Verify Compliance. It requires employers with 200 or more employees to apply to participate in the program no later than January 1, 2014. Employers of between 50 and 200 workers would have until July 1, 2014, to participate in the program, and those employers of 50 or fewer workers would have until January 1, 2015, to comply.
“I believe we need to preserve the dream of America as a land with open arms for all legal immigrants who wish to come here for a better life for themselves and their families. But the only way to do that is to stem the tide of illegal immigration and target those who are abetting that illegal action,” Palumbo said.