Georgia is a major user of E-Verify program
Trump backs tool that prevents illegal immigrant workers.
President Donald Trump set his sights on the nation’s employers this week when he outlined his wish list for any deal with Congress that would extend protections for young immigrants who could face deportation.
Among other things, Trump said he wants to require businesses to use E-Verify, a federal workforce authorization program. The program works by checking information employees provide on a document — called an I-9 — against records held in databases managed by the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Social Security Administration.
Georgia already has a head start when it comes to requiring E-Verify. In 2011, the state Legislature passed a law requiring private employers with more than 10 workers to use the program. Also, all city, county and state government agencies in Georgia — and their contractors and subcontractors — must use it. Some Georgia businessmen were critical of Georgia’s statute when it was up for consideration, worrying it would cost them extra time and money to use the program. But E-Verify’s supporters point out it is free and say it is fast and easy to use.
As of June 30, 92,683 employers in Georgia were enrolled in the program, federal records show. For comparison, there are 234,032 employers in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Nationwide, there were 729,595 employers participating in the program as of June.
The head of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, in a statement issued Wednesday, expressed concerns about Trump’s E-Verify proposal.
“In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation requiring E-Verify for companies employing over 10 employees,” Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark said. “As we argued then, we encourage Congress not to put more unnecessary and burdensome unfunded mandates on the backs of Georgia’s small businesses as they work through this issue.”
The Metro Atlanta Chamber had no comment.
Trump’s E-Verify proposal is now part of the debate over the future of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. DACA provides renewable two-year deportation deferrals and work permits to young immigrants known as “Dreamers” who were brought here before turning 16, who have attended school here and who have no felony convictions. Last month, Trump announced he was phasing out DACA.
Immigrant rights activists are calling for fedewral legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s nearly 700,000 DACA recipients without any of the Trump administration’s priorities for immigration enforcement. But that’s a nonstarter in the Republican-led Congress.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka called Wednesday for a longterm solution for DACA recipients. “This is a very complicated issue that needs a longterm, congressional fix,” she told the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington. “I personally am of the opinion, and the president has stated this, that we have to figure out a good solution that protects these innocent people, many of whom were brought to this country as children.”