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Rhode Island Dances with E-Verify Bill Again in H. 5236

A new House Bill has been introduced that would impose a mandatory E-Verify enrollment and use upon all employers who employ three or more employees in the state of Rhode Island. The following employers under this bill would be exempt: the federal government, employers by another state, or another “political subdivision of Rhode Island or another state.” The following phases for participation in E-Verify would go into effect if the bill were to be passed into law: On or before January 1, 2014: Employers with 200 or more employees required to participate; On or before July 1, 2014: Employers with 50-199 employees required to participate; and, On or before January 1, 2015: Employers with 3-49 employees required to participate. Although the bill provides mechanisms for employers who enroll in E-Verify to notify the State, the only penalty (thus far) for failure to enroll in E-Verify appears to be getting referred by the State’s Department of Labor to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for non-compliance. The absence of a hefty penalty provision may signal the legislature’s willingness to compromise in order to get the law passed. Finally, the bill may also reflect the reality that the state itself lacks funding to finance an enforcement team – a reality often faced by other states that have imposed obligatory E-Verify laws.

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