On September 21, 2011, the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary approved a bill that would mandate E-Verify use by U.S. employers for all new employees. A date for consideration on the House floor has not yet been set.
Among other things, there reportedly was much discussion during markup of the bill about its potential effect on agricultural workers. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Cal.) said that an E-Verify mandate would "devastate the agricultural industry," and that the issue should be dealt with "in a practical fashion." However, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Cal.) offered an amendment that the committee passed, which closed a loophole that would have allowed agricultural employers of returning seasonal workers to be exempt. Rep. Berman said that would amount to a "laughable de facto amnesty," and Rep. Melvin Watt (D-Cal.) agreed that it would be a "loophole big enough to drive freight trucks, airplanes, and locomotives—all filled with illegal workers—through." Despite closing the loophole, the bill would still give agricultural employers three years to comply.
A provision to preempt states from mandating E-Verify survived. Rep. Smith argued that preemption "is consistent with a common-sense reading of the Constitution" and that "American businesses need one federal standard for E-Verify, not 50 or more laws."