FLAGGED BILL: HB253 – Employment Verification Amendments, Rep. Pitcher

utah republican representative dixon pitcher
Rep. Dixon Pitcher (R)

E-Verify has been a hot topic in Utah for years, as lawmakers have gone back and forth on whether they should force local businesses to use the program which, in theory, verifies the immigration and work-eligibility status of potential employees. The 2013 session will be no different, as another legislator is attempting to pass the mandatory requirement.

HB253 – Employment Verification Amendments – by Representative Dixon Pitcher (Republican, Ogden), would make it mandatory for businesses to use the national E-Verify system in order to keep their private business licenses in Utah.

The bill is remarkably similar to the proposal last year by former Representative Stephen Sandstrom, which failed to receive approval. It never uses the word “mandatory,” but it does mandate that any new business seeking to get a license prove that they are using E-Verify, and existing businesses will be unable to renew their licenses unless they declare every two years that they too are using the system.

In all reality, E-Verify or a similar system may be inevitable, but there’s a big reason why we need to hold off for now. The federal E-Verify system relies on existing personal information databases such as the Social Security database, which are well known to be rank with errors and flaws. US citizens who are recently naturalized, or who use more than one last name, are especially susceptible to the database errors, which often don’t immediately recognize their legal status even if they were born and raised in the US. That’s one of many reasons why Congress has refused to mandate its use.

Those same flaws can also cause problems with the more unscrupulous business owners, who are aware that the system is flawed. In an effort to avoid having to deal with the massive amount of paperwork it takes to double-check someone’s legal status through E-Verify, it has been alleged that some employers discriminate against potential Hispanic employees because they believe the odds are against them clearing the flawed system.

Opponents of the E-Verify system argue that no citizen of our country should be forced to ask the government for permission to work, claiming that E-Verify is an unnecessary intrusion by the government into the lives of the people. Proponents counter that mandating its use levels the playing field.

As we stated earlier, E-Verify or a similar program could very well be inevitable some day. But like any business or organization, it’s a bad idea to launch a new program and mandate its use until the bugs are worked out, and E-Verify becomes a reliable system. Erring on the side of caution, and not getting ahead of the technology, is always the advisable course of action for a government body.

To contact Rep. Pitcher, Click Here

Impact on Average Utahn:

High Impact   5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0   No Impact


Necessary   5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0  Unnecessary

Overall Ranking:

Great Bill  5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5  Poor Bill

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5 Replies to “FLAGGED BILL: HB253 – Employment Verification Amendments, Rep. Pitcher

  1. How long are we going to wait for a bugless E-Verify System? Two Years? Five Years? Ten Years? or until another 12 million people have entered the country illegaly? This needs done now waiting only makes a the problem worse.

  2. As a US citizen born overseas in a US Military hospital to a US citizen mother & US citizen active duty serviceman father, I abhor E-verify. It has cost me countless job opportunities, as it demands I prove my US citizenship via naturaization papers or other documents I don’t possess. Even DWS wants my visa & permission to work in the US documentation. An expired passport, the red one that was issued to military dendants isn’t consider valid proof of citizenship. I have to submit my birth certifiate & the form from my father’s commanding officer attesting I was born to US parents to get thru e-verify. It took 3 yrs to convince the Utah voter registration people I was a US citizen. I have lived in 7 other states & voted with ease.

  3. Utah has a unique E-Verify law for businesses having 15 employees or more. Because of Utah laws passed in 2011, this law was currently scheduled to be sunsetted.

    While the bill didn’t pass, the sunset date (which is tied to 2011 HB 116) was extended for 2 more years of the current law via SB 225.

    The law should not be sunsetted, but should be clarified, requiring businesses and public entities in their dealings with the Commerce Department to state that they are or not complying with the law. Businesses would either then comply with the law, or acknowledge in writing they are not complying with the law. I believe it would be few that would knowingly state they were complying when they were not. There is no teeth to the current law or this proposed bill.

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