Outside the Beltway: E-Verify Law Gains Traction in Virginia

Brandon Stewart /

Following the lead of a handful of other states, the Virginia House yesterday passed a bill by an 82–13 margin that would require all state agencies, public contractors and Virginia-based employers with 15 or more employees to ensure that any potential hires are eligible to work in the United States.

The bill would require employers to use the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system, a joint project between DHS and the Social Security Administration. The online system allows employers to check information from a new hire’s I-9 form against the government’s records. The program removes the major incentive for illegal immigration—the prospect of employment—while rewarding legal workers. As we reported this fall, the costs per search are typically low and roughly 97% of all workers are approved instantly.

Heritage has supported the use of verification systems, like E-Verify, that allow employers to enforce immigration law with an easy, inexpensive, and real-time solution. It is likely that other states will adopt similar laws as word of the program’s success spreads.