Washington, D.C. - Last week, Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) joined several of his congressional colleagues in introducing two important pieces of legislation critical in the ongoing effort to curb illegal immigration, the Legal Workforce Act, and the Immigration in the National Interest Act.

The administration is moving forward on its promises to construct a border wall, hire additional Border Patrol agents and provide resources along the border,” said Congressman Hunter.  “It is imperative that Congress does its part in making the necessary policy changes that reinforce federal law and address the jobs magnet our current policies allow to occur.  These actions will protect our homeland while, at the same time, help protect the American worker.

The Legal Workforce Act applies the E-Verify employment verification program to all new hires.  Currently, this program is mandatory for federal agencies and departments but only utilized on a volunteer basis for other sectors in the workforce.  E-Verify ensures that jobs are saved only for American workers and those authorized to legally work in the United States.  The bill stipulates that mandatory E-Verify for new hires will be phased in gradually in six month increments beginning on the date of enactment, with small businesses with less than 20 employees and the agriculture sector provided the largest amount of time to implement.

The Immigration in the National Interest Act protects American workers by prioritizing immigration based on those who have the skills to succeed, expand the economy and create jobs.  It is the House companion bill to the Raise Working Wages & Boost American Competitiveness (RAISE) Act that has been introduced in the Senate.  Specifically, this legislation replaces the outdated Diversity Visa lottery system with a skills-based framework that rewards applicants based on their individual merits that include education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative.  This system is similar to the merit-based immigration systems currently utilized by Canada and Australia.