WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBOY) — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) has joined her colleagues in introducing new legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage and permanently establish the E-Verify system.

The Higher Wages for American Workers Act would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $11 over four years, including a slower phase-in for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and then index it to inflation every two years moving forward, according to a Friday release from the office of Senator Capito.

The bill also mandates the use of E-Verify for all employers, which would be phased in over an 18-month period. E-Verify requires workers 18 and older to provide their employer with a photo ID that would then be compared to a photo within the E-Verify system. This would raise “civil and criminal penalties on employers that hire unauthorized aliens and/or violate I-9 paperwork requirements” as well, the release said.

According to the bill, E-Verify would also maintain records of:

  • The job inquiries that were made.
  • The verifications that were provided (or not provided).
  • The codes provided to inquirers as evidence of their compliance with their obligations under E-Verify.

Alongside Capito working on the bill are Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio).

“The Higher Wages for American Workers Act successfully balances the needs of employers with opportunities for employees, which is critical,” Senator Capito said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation, which demonstrates that long-term solutions can be put forth and debated outside of a partisan process.”

Members of the group helped introduce a similar bill back in 2021.