States and local governments have been passing E-Verify legislation requiring all employers or employers contracting with state and/or local government to use E-Verify. The question which this post and further posts will discuss is whether state and local governments will continue to pass E-Verify legislation or has the trend slowed down.
Earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature failed to agree on passage of mandatory E-Verify legislation. This appears to be an affront to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been a proponent and/or author of much state immigration legislation throughout the U.S.
In Tennessee, it was widely believed the legislature would likely amend the non-mandatory E-Verify bill, which was passed in 2011, which stated private employers can either signup for E-Verify and receive protection under state law or copy and maintain one of the specified identification documents. The amendment would require E-Verify use to be mandatory. However, the Tea Party forces in the legislature could not overcome Republican Governor Bill Haslam and Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell's opposition, which was based upon the need to keep the legislative session focused on the economy, not on social issues. Thus, there was never even a vote to amend the E-Verify law.
In the last few years, the following states have required employers within their state to utilize E-Verify for newly-hired employees: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah. These states require employers who contract with state and/or local government to utilize E-Verify: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Two states, Louisiana and Tennessee, have “non-mandatory” E-Verify requirements. On the other hand, California prohibits local governments from requiring the use of E-Verify.
Which way will other states go? In at least 15 states, E-Verify legislation has been introduced in their state legislatures. But, will it die like it did in Kansas and Tennessee or will it pass, like Alabama and Georgia. Time will tell and I'll get you informed on these developments.
Bruce E. Buchanan is an attorney at the at Nashville Office of Siskind Susser, P.C. He represents individuals and employers in all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on immigration compliance for employers, and employment/labor law. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. degree from Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Buchanan has been in private practice since 2003. Beforehand, he served as Senior Trial Specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. He also served from 1991 to 2003 as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught courses in Labor Law and Employment Law. Mr. Buchanan was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Immigration Law Section from 2011 to 2012 and has been the editor of the TBA's Immigration Law Section Newsletter and the TBA's Labor and Employment Law Section Newsletter since 2009. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration compliance as well as labor law, wage & hour law and proposed federal legislation. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as the Advocacy Liaison of the Mid-South Chapter of AILA. Mr. Buchanan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) and is an associate member of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.