Romney, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Mandate E-Verify, Eliminate Key Driver of Illegal Immigration

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), JD Vance (R-OH), and Joe Manchin (I-WV) today introduced the Mandatory E-Verify Act of 2024, bipartisan legislation that would require all employers to use the federal electronic E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of their workforce. The senators’ bill comes on the heels of President Biden’s recent attempt to restrict asylum claims, which does not affect the millions of illegal aliens who have already entered the United States since he took office and leaves in place the employment magnet that incentivizes illegal immigration.

“President Biden’s last-ditch effort to limit asylum is too little, too late. Millions of illegal immigrants have already flooded into our country under his watch, and his executive order falls short in stopping widespread illegal employment,” Senator Romney said. “By requiring all employers to use E-Verify, our legislation would ensure that businesses only hire legal workers—eliminating a key driver of illegal immigration and protecting jobs for hardworking Americans.”

“American workers today compete against millions of illegal immigrants for too few jobs—that’s unfair. Ending the black market for illegal labor will open up jobs for Americans,” Senator Cotton said. “Our legislation will take the necessary steps to make sure every potential employer is hiring only legal workers.”

“E-verify protects employees and employers,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It is an essential tool in controlling immigration and protecting Americans’ jobs.”

“I’m proud to introduce the Mandatory E-Verify Act of 2024 to ensure businesses of all sizes are hiring legal workers,” said Senator Manchin. “Along with the E-Verify mandate, our bipartisan legislation would increase penalties for businesses that intentionally avoid E-Verify and hire unauthorized labor. Expanding E-Verify was a key component of the 2013 bipartisan immigration deal that passed the Senate and was our biggest opportunity to comprehensively fix our broken immigration system. I will continue to support all components of that compromise – including E-Verify, stronger border security, and expanded pathways for legal immigration.”


One of the leading causes of illegal immigration is the lack of adequate safeguards against unlawful employment in the U.S. job market. About 7.8 million illegal immigrants were in the U.S. labor force in 2021, and undocumented migrant encounters reported by U.S. Border Patrol have skyrocketed to more than 9.6 million since then. According to Rasmussen Reports, 68% of all likely voters believe the government should mandate employers to use E-Verify to help ensure they hire only legal workers for U.S. jobs.

The Mandatory E-Verify Act of 2024 would:

  1. Mandate E-Verify for all employers, phasing in implementation over 18 months to allow small businesses to comply;
  2. Raise civil criminal penalties on employers that hire unauthorized aliens and/or violate I-9 paperwork requirements; and
  3. Prevent fraud by requiring workers 18 and older to provide a photo ID to their employer for verification, which will be cross-referenced if a photo is available through the E-Verify system.

Full text of the legislation can be found here, and a one pager is available here.