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By Michele Waslin

Facing opposition from the left and the right, Rep. Lamar Smith appears to be willing to do and say just about anything to pass his “Legal Workforce Act,” (H.R. 2885), which would make E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. businesses.  Smith continues to tout E-Verify as a magic bullet that will create jobs for millions of American workers despite all evidence to the contrary.

In his latest op-ed, Smith argues that mandatory E-Verify could “open up countless jobs for unemployed American minorities”—a statement that, aside from its race-baiting intention, is simply not supported by the facts. While lowering the unemployment rate for minorities is certainly an important goal, there is absolutely no evidence that unauthorized immigration is responsible for high unemployment rates, and no evidence that E-Verify would create job opportunities for minorities.

In fact, multiple government studies have shown that E-Verify is deeply flawed.  Not only does it fail to detect unauthorized workers over half of the time, but it would erroneously flag millions of U.S. citizens and legal workers as not being work authorized.  Foreign-born legal workers, including naturalized citizens, are disproportionately harmed by these database errors, meaning that many minority workers will be harmed by Smith’s legislation—the exact opposite of what Smith claims.

Furthermore, Smith’s actions defy his own logic. When agriculture complained that E-Verify would devastate their industry causing billions of dollars in losses, Smith’s solution was to introduce a companion guestworker bill that would allow for up to 500,000 new guestworkers to come to the U.S. every year to work in agriculture.  In other words, Smith concedes that U.S. workers will not take the jobs of unauthorized workers, and the arch-restrictionist would bring in a half million new foreign workers and do nothing to actually fix the underlying problems.

Smith’s E-Verify bill is so problematic that even his fellow immigration restrictionists have opposed portions of bill. Many in the business sector fear that mandatory E-Verify would be very costly and burdensome, and would strap them with overzealous regulations, inhibiting their ability to hire new workers rather than creating new jobs.

Today, a group of Libertarian organizations signed onto a full page ad in Politico opposing Smith’s bill.  Groups including the Tea Party Nation, Downsize DC, November Patriots, Conservative Republican Women, Take Back Washington, and the Eagle Forum also sent a letter to Speaker Boehner claiming that the Legal Workforce Act would:

  1. Create a de facto national ID system even for US citizens   
  2. Violate individual civil liberties such as the right to work and free speech   
  3. Mandate a costly job-killing regulatory burden that cripples small businesses   
  4. Require employers to become enforcement agents of the federal government

Smith’s “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach to passing his mandatory E-Verify bill may garner some media attention, but it’s unlikely to get him much support from the broad spectrum of people who want a constructive conversation about real solutions to our immigration problems.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good luck with this one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    i'm way late getting off the computer.  now i've just bookmarked this diary by commenting.   you know, you folks at the policy center, sometimes extraordinary time call for unusual solutions....

    "I support term limits. I voted for term limits as an assemblyman. I believe that term limits are essential to reforming Congress and making members of Congress accountable" Current United States Congressman, Frank LoBiondo in 1994

    by guesswhoo2355 on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 09:49:17 AM PDT

  •  Why not just advocate open borders? (0+ / 0-)

    unless a person has a severe criminal record or a dangerous communicable disease, why not let anyone who wants to live and work in the US to do so?

    We could reduce the spending on an immigration system that we don't want, and use that money to spend on real human services.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 10:00:29 AM PDT

  •  Test E-Verify (0+ / 0-)

    If you live in one of these 21 states where E-Verify is set up for a self-check, take the self-check and let us know if it shows a false negative.

    •  If It Is A False Negative (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IowaPopulist, IT Professional

      You probably want to get it fixed as soon as possible because this is the Social Security database that you are pinging.

      Which is why all the caterwauling such as:

      but it would erroneously flag millions of U.S. citizens and legal workers as not being work authorized

      doesn't really make a lot of sense, but then I expect no less from the front group for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 11:51:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Several hundred thousand businesses already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    use E-Verify, most of them voluntarily. Without it they have to make a judgment about eligibility to work based on their assessment of the information on form I-9 that every new employee must provide. With E-Verify they just submit that information online and verification in almost all cases is nearly instantaneous for legal workers. The service is free and the cost associated with using it is insignificant.

    A false negative indicates that there is an error that you had better get fixed if you ever want to collect Social Security benefits.

    Smith's bill has measures in addition to E-Verify that would eliminate the loophole (identity theft) that E-Verify misses.

    A study in 2008 for a pro-amnesty business group found that if the 8.1 million illegal workers left the country, 2.8 million jobs would be lost due to reduction in aggregate demand, but the other 5.3 million jobs would be filled by Americans. Unemployment rates are far higher now than when that study was completed.

    Lamar Smith's bill is the real jobs bill, it would cost almost nothing, and yes, a disproportionate number of those who would benefit would be black and Hispanic Americans.

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