E-Verify Mandate Is Costly for Businesses and Workers

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As Congress revisits comprehensive immigration reform, one aspect deserves close attention: electronic employment verification. Both the White House’s leaked draft legislation, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2013, and the Senate’s proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) would make the current verification system, known as E-Verify, mandatory for most newly hired employees.

Under this system, employers must check each new employee’s information against a federal government database that attempts to encompass all legal U.S. workers. If E-Verify is fully implemented, it will levy major costs on the U.S. economy. The Senate bill would impose about $4.1 billion in initial setup costs and $8.5 billion in ongoing annual costs to government, businesses, and employees. This study estimates the costs of the Senate proposal using publicly available federal government data.

>> See also: David Bier’s Fact Sheet on the Senate’s E-Verify Proposal