SHRM, Council for Global Immigration Urge Congress to Act

By Roy Maurer Jan 27, 2014

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Council for Global Immigration sent a letter on Jan. 17, 2014, to all members of the House of Representatives, urging them to pass immigration reform legislation this year.

"On behalf of the 300,000 human resource and in-house immigration professionals our organizations collectively represent, we urge you to pass final legislation that will help U.S. employers keep the American economy strong and create more U.S. jobs,” wrote Henry G. "Hank" Jackson, president and CEO of SHRM, and Austin T. Fragomen, Jr., who chairs the Council's board.

In their letter, Jackson and Fragomen highlighted aspects of reform that are critical to U.S. employers:

  • A reliable and secure federal electronic employment verification system that pre-empts state laws and uses identity authentication tools, such as knowledge-based authentication, to protect against identity theft so that employers can confidently hire work-authorized employees.

“The current E-Verify program can be defeated by identity theft,” said Mike Aitken, SHRM's vice president for government affairs. “While E-Verify can confirm that the documents presented by a job applicant are real, it cannot confirm that the prospective employee is the person who owns that identity. This leaves the door open for unauthorized individuals to use imposter identities to gain verification of work authorization.”

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R.1772), currently in the House, takes steps to create an integrated, entirely electronic system, Aitken said. “However it does not adequately address the issue of identity theft in the employment process, which is why SHRM and the Council have supported addressing this through state-of-the-art technology to accurately authenticate a job applicant’s identity.”

  • A Trusted Employer program that would allow employers with a solid immigration-law compliance record to streamline administrative interaction with government agencies—saving resources for companies and the government.

“All of us need to be smarter about how we use our limited resources,” said Lynn Shotwell, the Council's executive director. “By leveraging technology and eliminating duplicative paperwork reviews, a Trusted Employer program would enhance efficiency for the government and employers. This type of streamlining is a win-win.”

  • Reforms to the employment-based green card and nonimmigrant systems that allow more highly educated and skilled foreign-born professionals to contribute to America’s global competitiveness, economic growth and U.S.-based job creation.

Today’s global economy requires strategic foresight as well as the ability to seize emergent opportunities, Shotwell said. “Our visa system must be expansive and predictable enough to give companies the confidence to make long-term plans and the flexibility to turn on a dime.”

Read more about the reforms for U.S. employers being advocated by the Society and the Council at

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him at @SHRMRoy

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