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New anti-illegal worker bill gets backing

February 29 2008

The Society for Human Resource Management said it's endorsing a federal bill to create an electronic system for employers to check whether they are hiring legal workers. The system proposed by the bill would be mandatory for all U.S. employers and comes with increased penalties, according to the SHRM. It would also be designed for greater accuracy than the present E-Verify system, offered to employers by the Department of Homeland Security.

In addition, the SHRM-backed system would allow employers to check employees using "biometrics" such as fingerprints.

"The government hasn't given employers the right tools to ensure a legal workforce," said Susan Meisinger, president and CEO of the SHRM. "This bill is a major step toward doing something meaningful to stop illegal immigration."

The bill was introduced Feb. 28 by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-TX, according to the SHRM.

Arizona already requires its employers to use E-Verify under a new employers sanctions law that took effect at the start of this year, but it has been opposed by business and civil rights groups. Opponents of that law received another blow this week. The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request for emergency injunctions to block the law, allowing it to take effect. However, the Court of Appeals will weigh the constitutionality of the law later this year.

The employer sanctions law gets tough on businesses hiring illegal workers. For example, Arizona employers caught hiring illegal workers more than once could face the loss of their business licenses.

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