Employers consider pros, cons of E-VerifyMore than two years ago, Clark County became the first in the state to mandate that its contractors use the federal E-Verify program, in an attempt to ensure taxpayer dollars employed legal workers on public works projects. Since then, three counties and 11 cities, including five in this county, have followed Clark County’s lead.This small group could soon lose its authority to require E-Verify use.House Bill 2568, sponsored by Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, D-Seattle, seeks to stop cities and counties from requiring E-Verify, which is not mandated by the state.Local leaders say E-Verify accomplishes two goals — ensuring a legal workforce on taxpayer-funded projects and compliance with federal law — while providing a free and easy-to-use service. Supporters of Kenney’s bill say the program stands to cost the state more than $2 billion if mandated, potentially cripple the agriculture industry and hurt legal immigrants.E-Verify, as it is implemented now, does not address problems associated with illegal immigrants working for private companies or jobs that pay cash and require minimal verification. Most employers have a choice whether to use E-Verify, and most choose not to, according to state and federal statistics.The state of Washington had 183,261 E-Verify queries in the 2011 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That accounted for roughly 6 percent of the state’s 3.2 million workers. E-Verify is only used for new employees. Click on chart to enlarge.