State lawmakers handed Gov. Pat McCrory a defeat when they overrode his veto of a bill that would have given employers of seasonal workers a several-month exemption from using E-Verify to determine the legal status of their employees.
Prior law already provided a 90-day E-Verify exemption for those employers, but the bill expanded that window to cover any employee who works up to nine months in a year, thereby tripling the period during which seasonal employees’ immigration status need not be checked against the federal database. The original law was intended to protect the state’s agricultural employers, who reportedly contribute over $75 billion to the state’s economy and employ almost 20 percent of its workers.
In vetoing the legislation, McCrory said that“[e]very job an illegal immigrant takes is one less job available for a legal North Carolina citizen. We must do everything we can to help protect jobs for North Carolinians first and foremost.”
In response to the override of his veto, McCrory noted that the new law “has created a loophole that could cost legal North Carolinians jobs,” and that it “change[d] the law’s focus from exempting ‘temporary seasonal employees’ to help the state’s farming industry to exempting a category of employees for any industry, regardless of the season or the needs.”
As a result, McCrory said that he would “direct the executive branch to explore all legal and executive authority to ensure the letter and spirit of our nation’s immigration law is followed in this state.”
Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.