States take up where Congress left off

Momentum grows to require job eligibility checks

Several state legislatures have passed various forms of legislation that would require employers to use the Homeland Security Department's Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System. Many more are considering bills during their current sessions that would have the same effect. Others have done nothing ' and in one case, in Florida, a bill requiring employers to use EEEVS died in committee.

The state bills vary widely. The most draconian legislation, now pending in the Missouri legislature, would prohibit landlords from renting dwellings to illegal aliens.

Violators of that provision would lose their rental licenses and occupancy permits. The Missouri bill would require employers to use EEEVS and allow local governments to deny business licenses to companies that employ unlawful workers.

More typical variants of the state EEEVS legislation require state agencies and organizations that receive state funds to use the federal system. Another, signed recently by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, mandates a phased introduction of an EEEVS requirement for all employers, starting with the largest companies.

Some states' labor laws already forbid the employment of illegal workers by state contractors, as in the case of Louisiana. In a similar vein, New Hampshire law imposes special fines on employers who are deemed to have employed illegal workers. But those laws don't specifically require use of EEEVS.

DHS' Citizenship and Immigration Services agency tracks the bills. It provided a detailed spreadsheet of their requirements from which the map above is drawn.

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