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State Sen. Julian Garrett (R-Warren) has worked on implementing E-Verify in Iowa for years.

“I always thought it’s really unfair for employers to hire people who are here illegally so they can cut their costs,” he said. “That’s unfair both to the people who they’re competing against and to the American citizens who are looking for work to have to compete against people who are going to work for cut-rate wages.”

Garrett said those employers who honor the law, are punished when competition hires illegal immigrant employees. He called it a competitive advantage.

“That’s really unfair and we shouldn’t be rewarding people to violate federal law in that way,” he added.

While Iowa’s unemployment rate is currently low, he still thinks it is an issue that needs correcting.

“We passed it in the Senate by big margins,” he said. “I don’t know what the future is in the House. Things are so tight there. It’s 53-47, so unless you can get unanimity among Republicans, it’s hard to pass almost anything controversial or significant. But I’m going to work on it and I have a good ally in (Rep.) Steve Holt who chairs the House Judiciary committee.”

Holt and Garrett worked together on the sanctuary cities and counties bill that passed a couple years ago, prohibiting local governments from providing sanctuary for people who have been arrested and ICE is wanting to deport.

With the bill already having passed the Senate in this general assembly, it just needs to make it through the House. If the House amends the legislation, then it would return to the Senate.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if we might have to amend it to get a majority,” Garrett said. “We had to amend the sanctuary bill a little bit, but it wasn’t anything that really hurt it. There have been other bills like that too — the judicial reform bill I was floor manager of in the Senate got amended in the House and sent back. In fact, that was the very last bill we passed in the Senate last session. We just got it done. Steve is a guy who worked with me on that too.”

Author: Jacob Hall