E-Verify Celebrates 25th Anniversary As Mayorkas Memo Guts Workplace Enforcement

The floodgates at the border are wide open and illegal aliens continue to pour across in record numbers, drawn by the magnet of economic betterment.  Currently, these numbers are at the highest level ever recorded.  According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), authorities apprehended more than 1.7 million people at the Mexican border during fiscal year 2021.  And this doesn’t account for the number of “got-aways” who likely crossed illegally without being apprehended. 

These huge increases in border crossers directly correlate with President Joe Biden’s immigration policies that encourage illegal immigration.  Even if they get caught, illegal aliens know there is a great likelihood they won’t be deported. This utter lack of enforcement provides a golden opportunity now for those seeking work to come to the United States.

While the Biden administration continues to promulgate policies that encourage illegal immigration, they recently touted the 25th anniversary of the federal E-Verify program. E-Verify was signed into law as part of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). The purpose of IIRIRA, which then-Senator Biden supported, was to prohibit the employment of illegal aliens.  In fact, IIRIRA was designed to turn off the jobs spigot which encouraged illegal aliens to come to the United States.

E-Verify is an easy online system that quickly allows employers to identify whether an individual is authorized to work in the United States.  The E-Verify system is wildly popular with employers who use it – enjoying an 87 percent satisfaction rating.

In addition to being well-liked by employers, the overwhelming majority of Americans also support E-Verify.  According to the latest poll conducted by Rasmussen, 67 percent of Americans believe the federal government should mandate E-Verify for all employers to ensure a legal workforce.

Ironically, at the same time U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is touting the success of E-Verify to ensure employers are only hiring individuals authorized to work in the United States, Biden’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will be dismantling workplace enforcement.  On October 12, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a memorandum that effectively bans ICE from conducting workplace enforcement.

This memorandum dramatically undermines the E-Verify program.  According to FAIR President Dan Stein, the Mayorkas memorandum will give “U.S. employers permission to hire illegal aliens over American workers.” The memorandum also encourages more illegal aliens to seek work in the United States by broadcasting to them they will be shielded from deportation.  And it empowers unscrupulous employers to continue to violate our laws by telling them they will not be prosecuted unless they are engaged in “abusive and exploitative labor practices.”

Since Secretary Mayorkas has undermined the E-Verify program, it is up to the states to protect American workers.  States must enact their own E-Verify laws that require businesses to use the program to ensure their employees are authorized to work in their state, or risk losing their business licenses.  If states do not, they will attract more illegal aliens, increasing their costs and undercutting the economic prospects of their citizens and legal residents. 

About Author


Shari Rendall brings to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) over 15 years of experience in government relations and grassroots advocacy. In her former position, Shari led the legislation department in coordinating lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and briefing congressional and administration staff on a wide range of issues. She has also been responsible for grassroots communications and helping state associations devise their legislative strategies. She began her time in D.C. working on Capitol Hill in the office of former Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire) as a Legislative Aide.