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National Restaurant Association - E-Verify a workable solution for industry, NRA tells Congress

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E-Verify a workable solution for industry, NRA tells Congress

A national employment verification system would help give restaurant owners certainty that they are meeting their legal obligations when hiring, National Restaurant Association policy experts told two Congressional panels today.

Nationwide implementation of E-Verify is one of the NRA’s top priorities in the debate over immigration reform. The issue is particularly important for restaurant owners who operate across state lines, who without a national standard would be left to comply with different state and local laws. The NRA supports the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772), which would allow employers to phase in E-Verify for new hires over a period of time.

Under the bill, businesses with more than 10,000 employees would be required to implement E-Verify within six months of the law being enacted. Within 12 months, businesses with 500 to 9,999 employees would be required to implement the system. Businesses with 20-499 employees would be required to use E-Verify within 18 months of enactment, and those with 1-19 employees would have a total of 24 months to adopt the system.

“Actions by 50 different states and numerous local governments create an untenable system for employers and their prospective employees,” Angelo Amador, NRA vice president of labor and workforce policy, said during testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee. “A national employment verification system that would provide employers with certainty in regard to their legal obligations, while preempting a patchwork of state and local laws, is a critical piece of immigration reform.”

Last month, the NRA released the results of a national survey of restaurant operators on E-Verify use. Eighty percent of respondents who use E-Verify said that they would recommend the system to other restaurant operators. Most independent owners who did not use E-Verify said they did not use the system because they do not have a human resources department.

Input from restaurant owners across the country is important to ensure the right decisions are made regarding a national verification system, Ryan Kearney, NRA manager of labor and workforce policy, told a Senate Small Business Committee roundtable today.

“We understand the need for, and support the creation of, a nationwide E-Verify system, but it must be done right, which is the reason why the feedback we are getting is so important to share with lawmakers,” Kearney told the roundtable. 

In addition to nationwide E-Verify implementation, the NRA’s other priorities in immigration reform include a pathway to legal work status and an improved border security policy that encourages legal travel and tourism.

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