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eLABORate: Louisiana House of Representatives Approves E-Verify Bill

June 13, 2011

Lawmakers in the Louisiana House of Representatives voted 86-0 to approve House Bill 646.  House Bill 646 is not yet effective in Louisiana.  However, if the House Bill is approved by the Louisiana Senate, and signed by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, House Bill 646 will require all Louisiana employers to use E-Verify to determine an employee’s immigration status.

E-Verify is a federally provided internet-based system that allows an employer to verify an employee’s work authorization status.  The Louisiana House of Representatives’ vote on House Bill 646 follows the long-awaited United States Supreme Court decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, which authorized states to mandate that employers use E-Verify under certain circumstances.  Several other states have already taken steps to adopt E-Verify laws.  Louisiana is now positioned to follow this regional trend.

If enacted, House Bill 646 will require all Louisiana employers to use E-Verify to confirm the citizenship or work authorization for every employee according to E-Verify regulations.  Louisiana employers that violate the E-Verify mandate would risk the suspension or revocation of their business licenses, in addition to civil penalties.  For a first violation, the penalty would be no more that $250.00 (two hundred fifty dollars) for each alien employed, hired, recruited, or referred in violation of the law.  For a second violation, the State would immediately suspend the employer’s business license for not less than 10 days.  The State would also assess a fine of not more than $500.00 (five hundred dollars) for each alien employed, hired, recruited or referred in violation of the law.  For a third violation, the State would permanently revoke the employer’s business license and assess a fine of not more than $1,000.00 for each alien employed, hired, recruited, or referred in violation of the law.  If enacted as approved by the Louisiana House of Representatives, employers charged with violations would be required to litigate their licensure revocation, civil penalty proceedings and injunction proceedings in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Considering the fact that House Bill 646 was passed 86-0 and the fact that the United States Supreme Court has recently authorized states to act in this particular area of immigration law, it is likely that this bill will clear the Louisiana Senate and be signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal.  Accordingly, Louisiana employers should prepare for the E-Verify mandate by visiting www.uscis.gov and enrolling as E-Verify users.  For answers to questions concerning House Bill 646 or other employment-based immigration matters, please contact Brandon Davis at brandon.davis@phelps.com.