National Immigration Forum

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Please (E-)Verify That You Saw What Happened On Election Day…

January 23, 2009 - Posted by Mario Moreno

Immigrant and Latino voters turned out in record numbers on November 4, 2008, helping to vote in a new President who favors comprehensive immigration reform along with a Senate and House controlled by the Democratic Party who are likely to follow the President’s lead on that issue and others.

So why did the House Appropriations Committee vote two amendments about the flawed E-Verify program in to the stimulus bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009)?

One amendment, offered by Ken Calvert (R-CA) and approved on a voice vote, would reauthorize E-Verify, the voluntary Internet-based work authorization program, for four years without substantive changes to the voluntary pilot program.

The other, offered by Jack Kingston (R-GA) and also approved by voice vote, would make E-Verify mandatory for any business or entity (public or private) getting money through the stimulus.

This amendment represents a massive expansion of the E-Verify program.  As has been well documented the E-Verify program is deeply flawed, inaccurate, and subject to substantial employer abuse. 

So here are three questions for Congress, especially Congressional Leadership:

Is this the way you respond to unprecedented voting by immigrant and Latino voters by caving in to those more interested in immigration as a political issue to use as a wedge than as a national priority needing reform?

Do you really want to impose new and costly requirements on businesses, local governments, schools, hospitals, or non-profit organizations who may be helped to stimulate the economy through stimulus package funds? 

And do you really want to merge your efforts to revive the economy with immigration reform in the first place?

The Standing FIRM blog has an action alert and the National Immigration Law Center has talking points that you can use to call Speaker of the House Pelosi and members of Congress to voice your opinion.


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