Once again, the Tennessee Legislature has ended its session without passing a bill mandating that all Tennessee public and private employers use the federal E-Verify system to help screen out illegal labor when hiring. The Republican supermajority has killed such bills for many years in order to please the business lobby, which values its profits over the welfare of American workers and this country.
So, Tennessee remains a magnet to illegal labor and illegal immigration.
We subsidize in many ways the profits of businesses employing low-wage foreign guest workers and undocumented immigrants illegally crossing the border.
A few years ago, a couple of Tennessee Republicans managed to get a mandatory E-Verify bill passed to cover employers of more than 50 employees. This is current state law and is not sufficient by a long shot. All employers should be held to the mandate, and we need tough penalties that would include loss of business license on second offense. We also must fix the independent-contractor and subcontractor rules. Employers are protected when using E-Verify.