Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should E-Verify, the federal government's electronic employment verification system, be mandatory for all employers?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following position in his article "Immigration" on www.ouramericainitiative.com (accessed Nov. 28, 2011):
"Enact an application and tracking procedure for guest workers, such as an e-verify system. Procedures must be quick, simple and efficient in providing documentation information, and must meet the needs of both employers and willing workers." Nov. 28, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, had his position outlined in the May 2011 immigration reform blueprint, "Building a 21st Century Immigration System," available at www.whitehouse.gov:
“In order to hold businesses accountable that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers, the President supports:
Phasing in mandatory use of the E-Verify system over a multi-year period in conjunction with a program that requires the undocumented population to get right with the law. Employers with more than 1000 employees would be required to join the system first, with additional phases that add more employers in succeeding years. Some small businesses could be exempt from using E-Verify system..." May 2011 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following during the Oct. 18, 2011 CNN and Western Republican Leadership Conference Republican presidential debate held in Las Vegas, NV, available on CNN.com:
“Let me tell you, it is hard in this country as an individual homeowner to [know] if people who are contractors working at your home if they hired people that are illegal. If I’m president we’ll put in an e-verify system... and crack down on people who come here illegally.” Oct. 18, 2011 Mitt Romney
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), cosponsored the SAVE Act of 2009 (H.R. 3308), introduced on July 23, 2009 and available at govtrack.us (accessed Nov. 30, 2011), which attempted to make E-verify mandatory, according to this partial summary of H.R. 3308 from the Congressional Research Service:
"Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to make the basic employment eligibility confirmation pilot program permanent. Sets forth conditions for the mandatory use of the E-verify system. Requires: (1) employer/employee notification of social security number mismatches and multiple uses, and related information sharing with DHS; and (2) establishment of electronic birth and death registration systems. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) penalize specified employers for failure to correct information returns; and (2) prohibit employers from deducting from gross income wages paid to unauthorized aliens, with an exception for an employer participating in the basic employment eligibility confirmation program. Increases criminal alien program (CAP) personnel." July 23, 2009 Michele Bachmann
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, stated the following in an article titled "10 Steps to a Legal Nation," posted on his campaign website, Newt.org, on Nov. 23, 2011:
"There is no possibility that the federal government could run such a [guest worker] program without massive fraud and counterfeiting. On the other hand, American Express’s rate of fraud is less than one tenth of one percent.
We can build on the universal system of biometric, tamper-proof visa documents that all visitors must have, and invite a private-sector firm with a proven track record to monitor the guest worker program.
For guest workers, the new tamper-proof, biometric cards will replace the e-verify system, which has some promising elements, but is too error-prone. Employers will be able to swipe prospective employees biometric cards, and immediately be able to confirm that these workers are in the country legally." Nov. 23, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, signed S.B. 81, Illegal Immigration, on Mar. 13, 2008. The bill mandated that Utah state contractors use the E-Verify system to determine the immigration status of newly hired employees. The bill said in part:
"[R]equires public employers to register with and use a Status Verification System [e-verify] to verify the federal authorization status of a new employee." Mar. 13, 2008 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Aug. 11, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate in Ames, IA, available at foxnewsinsider.com:
"FERRECHIO: Congressman Paul, you are opposed to a system that requires employers to verify the immigration status of their workers. Why would you want to eliminate one more tool to help curb illegal immigration?
PAUL: I don‘t like putting the burden on our businessmen to be the policemen. That means he has to be policing activity." Aug. 11, 2011 Ron Paul
[Editors Note: In addition to the above quote from Aug. 11, 2011, Ron Paul voted against the Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003 (H.R. 2359), a bill authorizing a national e-verify pilot program, on Dec. 3, 2003.]
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following during the Republican primary gubernatorial debate held at WFAA studios in Dallas, TX on Jan. 29, 2010, available at "Replay: The Belo Debate Part I," wfaa.org:
"You know the E-Verify is... clearly a federal program, and speaking of the federal government, that's where the problem really lies with this issue. Washington DC have been abject failures when it comes to defending our border... E-Verify would not make a hill of beans' difference when it comes to what's happening in America today. You secure that border first, then you can talk about how to identify individuals in an immigration situation." Jan. 29, 2010 Rick Perry
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following in a May 24, 2006 press release, "Senator Santorum Supports Employment Verification System as Essential Component of Immigration Reform Bill," available at www.votesmart.org:
"I have consistently said throughout this debate that I strongly support the establishment of an Employment Verification System...
We need a strong and workable employer verification system... I appreciate the hard work and honest effort to strengthen these provisions, but cannot support a system that would actually prevent an employer from doing what we must require them to do - verify the legal status of their employees. This is a key element in the debate. We must hold employers accountable, and we must provide an effective and practical way for them to determine the status of their employees." May 24, 2006 Rick Santorum