In order to curtail illegal alien employment, employers with six or more employees may be required to verify their workers’ eligibility. Current law only requires that level of verification for employers with over 50 employees. The proposed bill would also remove the immunity for employers who rely on forms of verification other than E-Verify, the federal electronic employment verification service. The legislation includes a sole exemption for farmers.
State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) introduced the legislation earlier this month. Its companion bill in the Senate, introduced by State Senator John Stevens (R-Huntington), was referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee last week. The legislation mirrors Griffey’s similar bill from last year, which was passed by the House but died in the Senate.
Griffey clarified with The Tennessee Star that the legislation wasn’t taken up by the Senate during last year’s general assembly due to COVID-19, not due to the merits of the bill.
In a press release shared with The Star, Griffey cited data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). According to FAIR, Tennessee tax payers forked over $793 million to address illegal immigration in 2017 – around $315 per household. FAIR’s most recent report estimated around 151,000 illegal aliens resided in Tennessee in 2020. By their 2017 estimates of cost per illegal alien, that would bring the taxpayer burden up to around $887 million.
“This must end, and, in order to bring it to an end, I want to curtail the ability of illegal aliens to obtain jobs or benefits in Tennessee. I want to make Tennessee be the very last place that illegal aliens want to come,” stated Griffey in his press release. “In addition, everyone should have to obey the laws equally. It is a fundamental principle and value in America.”
Griffey told The Star that the Biden Administration’s agenda to pander to illegal immigrants would only serve to hurt lawful American citizens.
“We can all see since the election that Joe Biden and the Democrats are creating a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of illegal, undocumented immigrants. They take U.S. jobs, and they don’t have COVID tests or vaccinations, either,” stated Griffey. “We’ve got hundreds of thousands of unemployed Tennesseans. Why would we allow people to take jobs from legal Tennessee residents?”
A study by the Center for Immigration Studies found that the combination of legal and illegal immigrants outpaced native-born Americans for employment gains from 2007 to 2017.
Griffey explained that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s law inspired him to pursue the legislation once again this year.
“America first, baby. I took an oath on the Tennessee Constitution and represent the interests of Tennessee voters, not the illegal aliens. I will always put the interests of my constituents first,” asserted Griffey. “It sickens me that the liberals and Democrats want illegal aliens in America to bolster their voting base and the globalist GOP corporate donors want cheap immigrant labor to help Wall Street and not working Americans. I want to change that. I will always fight for working Americans just like President Trump!”
The bill will appear before the House Banking & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. CST.
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