Immigration bill would mandate E-Verify

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A summary of immigration reform legislation shows employers would be required to use the E-Verify system and outlines a system by which undocumented agricultural workers could obtain legal status. It also outlines a new guest worker visa program for agricultural jobs.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to begin a hearing on the bill April 17, but the hearing has been postponed until April 19.

The 17-page summary released by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., describes a five-year phase-in period for the E-Verify program. For agricultural employers, the phase-in period would be four years.

Photo matching would be required with the E-Verify system, with every non-citizen being required to show their biometric work authorization card or their biometric green card, the summary states. Employees would be able to “lock” their Social Security numbers in the E-Verify system so they could not be used by another individual.

The summary of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” also outlines the “Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act” (Ag JOBS Act) that would set up a new system for agricultural workers.

Part of the AgJOBS Act would establish a procedure for current undocumented farm workers to obtain legal status through an Agricultural Card Program.

“Undocumented farm workers who have made a substantial prior commitment to agricultural work in the United States would be eligible for an Agricultural Card,” the summary states.

The AgJOBS Act would also set up a new agricultural guest worker visa program. It would use portable, at-will employment-based visas called W-3 and contract-based visas called W-2 to replace the current H-2A guest worker visa program. The H-2A program would end after the new program became operational, the legislation summary said.

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