Oppose Excessive Penalties and Mandates on Contractors for Immigration Verification
- Various immigration bills have been before Congress in recent years. Comprehensive (which includes Border Security, Job Site Enforcement, New Worker Visas) immigration reform remained a taboo subject prior to the 2008 election. Some of the more politically popular legislation introduced in the last Congress with regard to employment verification AGC opposed because they did not incorporate the tenants AGC feels are necessary to create an accurate and reliable program.
- Federal Preemption is a Necessity. Immigration is a federal issue. Any federal legislation must preempt the patchwork of conflicting and onerous state and local ordinances that have been enacted.
- Liability Protections Must Exist for Employers Using the Verification System. Employers using the verification system must have liability protections for hiring decisions based on the results of the system. Employers should be responsible for their hiring practices, not those of companies with which they have a business relationship. AGC strongly opposes any effort to have general contractors or owners responsible for the hiring practices of their contractors and subcontractors.
- “Knowing” Standard Must Remain the Liability Standard. This should not be a game of “gotcha” or encourage racial profiling. Employers must be able to understand the rules and act on information that they “know.” The “knowing” standard must remain the liability standard so that employers may easily understand their role and obligations.
- Penalties Should Be Commensurate with Violation. Any penalties for errors or non-compliance should be commensurate with the violation(s) with an exemption from penalty for good faith violations. Fines (especially for errors) should be reasonable and capped. Any attempt to mandate debarment of federal contractors as a penalty must follow the current process set forth in the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
- Cost Burden Should Be on Government, Not Employers. The increased administrative burden on employers system should not be cost prohibitive for small businesses and must be easy to use to ensure compliance. The costs for implementing the system such as tamper-proof ID’s, software, equipment, etc. should be offset with tax credits and the timeframe employers must retain verification forms should be reasonable.
- New Mandatory Electronic Verification System Must Be Accurate, Phased In with Benchmarks, and Cover New Hires Only. Construction employers want a reliable verification system for new hires, but the system must be accurate and reliable and should be phased in to veracity of the system. The system must meet benchmarks for accuracy before all employers are subjected to the requirement and system must guarantee even novice users that they can comply with deadlines.