WA farmers battle E-Verify

Natural Resource News Note:

An immigration-status-checking program has been debated in the Washington statehouse. The program, known as E-Verify, provides a way for employers to quickly discover whether job applicants are in the country legally, and it’s already used in eleven cities and counties in Washington state. But lawmakers plan to take on vote on whether to ban E-Verify within their state.

Farmers and immigrant-rights groups are in favor of banning E-Verify; they say the software makes it harder for employers and employees to find each other and do business. Nationwide, however, the program has been popular. Several states, including Utah, Mississippi, and Georgia, even require its use. Supporters of the software contend that it makes background and immigration status checks free, easy, and fast. Employers using the older method of reporting an employee’s SSN to the Social Security Administration could take up to six months to get an answer on the prospective employee’s immigration status.

The Washington bill would be what is known as a “pre-emption”—a law that forbids the state itself and all local governments within the state from using E-Verify or mandating its use by private companies. Pre-emptions are a popular tool used by governments at all levels to assert their control over specific sectors of industry and society.

see also Seattle Times

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