July 11, 2012
E-Verify TV Report
wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |
WIS Tv aired the following story on E-Verify July 11th
J. BARR (Reporter)
When the Governor signed the state’s new illegal immigration reform act here last year it carried with it a fast free way for employers to verify employment status of all new hires. The law was six months old. Now state investigators have found not all employers are following it.
We are putting costs and burden on small businesses at a time when everybody is saying we need small businesses to hire: it does not make any sense.
The state’s small business chamber President Frank Knapp fought the e-verify law from the beginning. Knapp calls the e-verify mandate a hurdle to hiring and one that could force small business owners to make tough decisions.
I am just not going to hire somebody if it is too much of a problem or I’m going to hire them and take the chance that I get caught
No, it’s quick and simple.
Here is what this news story did not tell you and why we believe that E-Verify creates another burden for small businesses.
In order to use E-Verify, small business owners need access to high-speed Internet and, unluckily, broadband connections are not yet available everywhere in South Carolina. Small business owners lacking computers or having a slow connection will either be forced to purchase broadband or outsource their E-Verify employee eligibility verification. In both cases small business owners will have to bear additional costs at a time when we need them to hire and take an active role in creating new jobs. On top of that, the implementation of E-Verify will require the study of the 82-page user manual that will take further time away from the core business.
Here is a quote from Erlinda McCoy, HR Manager, Boykin Contractors, West Colombia regarding the mandate to use E-Verify and its complexity.
“The E-Verify process has changed multiple times just in the short time that we’ve been using it. I can imagine that businesses who rarely hire employees would basically have to have new training in the system each time they have to use it. It would be a pain.”
Jim Knight handles e-verify for Labor Licensing and Regulation. Knight spent the past six months traveling to every county educating employers about the penalties of not following the e-verify law. For the process is free, all an employer has to do is log on to the Internet, enter the applicants’ name, date of birth and social security number. Within seconds the federal database lets the employer know whether they can hire or not hire the applicant. For a first violation the state puts the employer on probation and requires quarterly reporting of all hires. A second violation could cost a business owner their likelihood.
It’s clear, it does not say an exception, it says: we will shut the business down for ten to thirty days and in this economy I don’t know any business that can afford to close the doors for ten days, surely not for thirty days.
This enforces the fact that illegal immigration is not welcome in South Carolina. Legal immigration is more than welcome in South Carolina.
Gov. Nikki Haley signed the law last June, however the law does not include all workers. There are three groups that do not have to verify: agricultural workers, domestic servants and clergy. For small businesses the exemption doesn’t make sense.
When the public thinks about the types of occupations that undocumented workers would be here doing, they think of construction, landscaping, they think of farm workers and they think of domestic servants. So the law basically exempts two of those majors industries from compliance.
Again, the Legislature gave employers a six-month grace period to begin following this law. That grace period is now over.