The FILE Act is model state legislation that provides a constitutionally sound way for states to address some of the difficulties they face because of the federal government's failure to enforce US immigration law.
In particular, the FILE Act helps remove the "jobs magnet"—illegal employment—the root cause of most illegal immigration. States that enact the FILE Act encourage widespread use of the federal government's e-verify program.
The e-verify system is a federal, voluntary program for US employers. It electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees at no cost to the employer.
Unfortunately, fewer than 25,000 US employers use the e-verify system. Some see the set-up process as confusing and cumbersome. For others, good information is lacking. Still others see the program as just more unwanted paperwork. And, certainly, a few employers would just rather not know.
The FILE Act encourages a state's employers to participate in the e-verify system by setting up the state as a "designated agent" for the e-verify program. The state acts as a liason between employers and the federal government's worker eligibility database.
In the course of its regular functions (e.g., issuing business licenses), a state with the FILE Act in place notifies employers of the availability of the new service. It explains the e-verify requirements and how to use the system. It issues the employer a decal with a compliance message and an id number unique to that employer.
Participating employers may display the decal in any manner they like, including use it in advertising and promotional materials. However, if the employer uses the decal but not the e-verify system, it loses the "knowingly" defense in any subsequent legal proceeding involving it and illegal hiring practices. Further, a private right of action becomes available against it in the civil courts.
A state with the FILE Act in law removes nearly all the paperwork with which a participating employer might otherwise have to contend; thanks to economies of scale, a state with the FILE Act in place saves many thousands of man-hours by having one central staff undergo e-verify's training, learning, and set up process rather than requiring thousands of employers each to undergo the same thing individually.
Employers like it because it helps ensure a level playing field, and is completely voluntary.
Taxpayers like it because it helps stanch the drain on public services and local wages caused by illegal hiring.