Rep. Steve King (R-IA) joined SiriusXM host Rebecca Mansour and guest host Frances Martel on Friday’s Breitbart News Tonight to discuss a proposed legislative improvement to E-Verify that he said GOP leadership cast aside.
King began by expressing support for a national E-Verify mandate for employers to combat illegal immigration. “Mandatory E-Verify would help a lot, and it would especially help a lot initially until they try to figure out a way around it,” said King.
King said the weakness of an E-Verify mandate lies within its need for enforcement — which can vary across administrations — via Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“The one thing that causes me pause about mandatory E-Verify is you still have to enforce it,” King remarked. “You still have to show up with ICE and go through and examine the records and punish the employer if he’s violating and hiring illegals. We didn’t have enforcement throughout this time, which is why we have this problem, so I think under the Trump administration, we’d have pretty good enforcement. Under a future administration, maybe not so much.”
King then shared his recommendations for improving E-Verify, which would include making the deductibility of employee wages and benefits business expenses contingent on verification of the lawful employment status of related employees.
King explained, “I’ve written a piece of legislation that I believe is a self-actuating and self-enforcing. … I’ve called it ‘The New IDEA Act,’ and my acronym IDEA stands for Illegal Deduction Elimination Act. It clarifies that wages and benefits paid to illegals are not tax deductible. The IRS would come in during a normal audit — it doesn’t accelerate audits — and run the information of the employees through E-Verify, to give the employers safe harbor if he uses E-Verify, but if his employers can’t qualify under E-Verify, the IRS can deny the wages and benefits paid to them as a business expense.”
King added that his proposed bill would reduce the economic incentives to unlawfully employ illegal immigrants. He said employers would be forced to place the costs of employee wages and benefits in the “grocery receipts column” without the ability to claim them as business expenses.
“So it would take your ten-dollar-an-hour illegal and turn him into about a 16-dollar-an-hour illegal,” King continued, adding that employers would be “accruing a massive liability.”
King stated his proposal would mandate cooperation between the IRS, Homeland Security, and the Social Security Administration. “I require that the IRS set up a cooperating team with the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration so they’re comparing notes and working in the direction of cleaning up the illegal employment in America. That’s a step up from E-Verify,” stated King.
GOP leadership, said King’s proposal, was uninterested in his proposal. “I had a thought of getting it into the tax bill. They were looking for it paid for, and it was a $254 billion paid for, and the revenue it would generate, according to score put up by the Center for Immigration Studies, and I just couldn’t get it there, partly because — I’ll just say it — it wasn’t leadership’s idea,” King said.
King concluded by describing fear of the IRS as an asset for his proposal. “What agency do employers fear the most?” he asked. “I’d say the IRS. When they have that level of respect, they’ll self-enact this legislation. It doesn’t take any enforcement; it’s already there.”
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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.