California is poised to nullify immigration enforcement ordinances in about a half dozen Inland Empire cities – and to continue to buck a national trend – by restricting the use of E-Verify, the national online database used to check the immigration status of workers.
Under the Employment Acceleration Act, passed by the state Senate last week and currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, state and local governments could not require California businesses to use the database to ferret out undocumented employees.
California’s approach is an anomaly. States and cities across the country have passed laws that mandate use of the E-Verify system as part of a strategy to curb illegal immigration and ensure that scarce jobs go to U.S. citizens and legal residents.
The act conflicts with the Legal Workforce Act [PDF], a bill pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the use of E-Verify by all American employers.
The California bill has been cited as a reason that the national legislation, which is being marked up this week in the House Judiciary Committee, is necessary.
“California has the second-highest unemployment rate in the U.S., yet elected officials in Sacramento just sent a bill to the Governor’s desk that will further diminish job opportunities,” bill sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said in a statement. “California’s E-Verify opt-out bill shows exactly why we need a federal E-Verify law.”