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National Restaurant Association (NRA) policy experts told two Congressional panels that a nationwide employment verification system that is workable for employers is a top restaurant industry priority in the immigration reform debate.
In testimony before the a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, Angelo Amador, vice president of labor and workforce policy, said, “Actions by 50 different states and numerous local governments create an untenable system for employers and their prospective employees. A national employment verification system that would provide employers with certainty in regard to their legal obligations, while preempting a patchwork of state and local laws, is a critical piece of immigration reform.”
The NRA has played a leading role in the immigration reform debate. Last month, the Association released the results of a national E-Verify survey of industry operators. The survey shows that nearly half of corporate-owned chain restaurant companies use E-Verify, and 80 percent of operators who use it would recommend it to others.
Independent restaurants not using E-Verify said it was because they lack a human resources department.
“We understand the need for, and support the creation of, a nationwide E-Verify system, but it must be done right, which is the reason why the feedback we are getting is so important to share with lawmakers,” Ryan Kearney, manager of labor and workforce policy for the Association, told a separate Senate Small Business Committee roundtable.
The Association supports the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772), which simplifies the current two-step E-Verify process and the need for Internet access and a computer.
Other Association priorities in the immigration reform debate include a pathway to legal work status and improved border security that still encourages legitimate travel and tourism.