Despite illegal aliens continuing to cross the state’s southern border in record numbers, the Texas Senate has yet to act on a proposal that advocates say would drastically limit a major incentive for illegal immigration.
Senate Bill 1621 by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) would mandate the use of E-Verify for all employers in Texas. E-Verify helps employers ensure individuals are eligible to work in the United States by comparing the contact information they provide with that contained in the E-Verify database.
As of January 2021, around 1 million employers in 22 states participate at some level in the optional program, including Texas, which requires state agencies and public institutions of higher education to confirm new employees are authorized to work in the United States.
SB 1621 was considered during a committee hearing on April 12, at which time several witnesses offered testimony in favor of the legislation. However, the Business & Commerce Committee did not send it to the full Senate until May 2, when they approved it by a 7-4 vote. State Sen. Robert Nichols (R–Jacksonville) voted with Democrats in opposing the bill.
The proposal has been placed on the Senate’s intent calendar, meaning it could be considered by the full body at any time.
According to Texans for Strong Borders President Chris Russo, there is not enough support among the Republican senators to bring the measure up for a vote.
In a statement to Texas Scorecard, Russo emphasized the importance of requiring E-Verify for all Texas businesses:
E-Verify is a vital part of limiting the impact of the border invasion on our citizens and communities by eliminating the largest pull factor for illegal immigration: employment.
It is also tremendously popular with Texas voters—a recent Rasmussen poll put it at 71% approval with ALL Texans and 82% with Republicans. Texans for Strong Borders urges Texans to contact their state senator and ask them to commit to supporting SB 1621.
If it passes the Texas Senate, there will be tremendous pressure on the Texas House to see it through to reaching the governor’s desk. It’s time for Texas to lead.
Texas Scorecard reached out to Kolkhorst and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for comment regarding the status of SB 1621, but no response was received before publication.
If the Senate passes the legislation, House committees only have until Saturday, May 20, to approve Senate bills. The 88th Legislative Session ends May 29.