Six Republican senators recently proposed the Higher Wages for American Workers Act, which would require all employers to use the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program to authorize employment eligibility and would increase the national minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $11, according to Construction Dive.
The bill proposes a phased expansion of E-Verify requiring employers with 10,000 or more employees to use the system beginning six months from the enactment date. Smaller employers would be categorized based on the size of their workforces, and each category would have a corresponding deadline to begin using E-Verify. Ten states currently have E-Verify requirements for private employers.
The bill also would increase penalties for employers who employ unauthorized workers and would permit DHS and the Social Security Administration to establish a self-verification process through which individuals can verify their employment eligibility.
In a statement, bill co-sponsors Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said the measures are intended to address illegal immigration.
The bill’s minimum wage increase provisions also would have a phased implementation. The federal hourly minimum wage would increase to $8 on the effective date, then by increments of less than $1 each year until reaching $11 four years after the effective date. Then, the minimum wage would be indexed to inflation every two years.