Cotton, Romney and Colleagues Introduce Bill to Raise Minimum Wage and End Illegal Immigrant Employment

Contacts: Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353
September 13, 2023

Cotton, Romney and Colleagues Introduce Bill to Raise Minimum Wage and End Illegal Immigrant Employment

Washington, DC — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) today introduced the Better Wage for American Workers Act, a bill that would phase in the federal minimum wage to $11 by 2028 and mandate E-Verify provide wage increases only to legal workers.

The bill would also index future minimum wage increases to inflation and provide protections for small businesses. Senators Shelley Moore Capita (R-West Virginia), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and JD Vance (R-Ohio) are co-sponsors of the legislation.

The text of the bill can be found here.

“American workers today are competing with millions of illegal immigrants for too few jobs at too low wages — it’s not fair. Ending the black market for undocumented labor will create jobs for Americans. Raising the minimum wage will allow Americans to fill these jobs to better support their families. Our bill does both.” Senator Cotton said.

“Despite rising costs of living, the federal minimum wage has not increased in over a decade, leaving millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. Our proposal would raise wages for millions of workers without putting jobs at risk, and peg wages to inflation so they keep pace with rising costs. In addition, requiring employers to use E-Verify would ensure that wage increases benefit legal workers, protecting American jobs and eliminating a key driver of illegal immigration.” said Senator Romney.


  • Gradually increases the federal minimum wage to $11 over four years and then indexes it for inflation every two years.
  • Creates a slower phase-in for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Mandates E-Verify for all employers, phased in over 18 months to give small businesses additional time to comply.
  • Enhances civil and criminal penalties for employers who hire unauthorized aliens and/or violate I-9 filing requirements.
  • Prevents fraud by requiring workers age 18 and older to provide a photo ID to the employer for verification, which will be referenced if the photo is available through the E-Verify system.


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