National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Media

“Dangerous and Intrusive” E-Verify Bill Passes House Committee

September 22, 2011

Washington, D.C. On September 21, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Legal Workforce Act, legislation that would force all employers to use the E-Verify electronic employment verification system. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, and was passed amid a growing chorus of opposition from conservative, Tea Party, and libertarian groups. Following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.


 


“Representative Lamar Smith yesterday came a step closer to forcing every American employer to get permission from the government before hiring. His error-ridden ‘no work list’ is expected to cause hundreds of thousands of American workers to lose their jobs.


 


It is no wonder that opposition to this bill is coming from opponents of big government.  Organizations such as the Tea Party Nation, the Liberty Coalition, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and other conservative and libertarian groups have been raising their voices against mandatory E-Verify. To them, the government databases from which we will all be forced to seek permission to work are a thinly-veiled national ID system, and will interfere with the right of Americans to work. Forcing the E-Verify system on small employers will be a jobs killer and it will set a ‘dangerous and intrusive precedent’ for using the hiring process to check Americans for other purposes, such as payment of taxes.


 


E-Verify will also leave crops rotting in the fields, and that is why Congress has heard loud and clear from agricultural producers. Much of the agricultural work force is undocumented, and forcing growers to use E-very without first legalizing their workers will put many farms out of business.  Thousands of jobs that depend on the operation of those farms will be lost.


 


House Speaker John Boehner should think twice before bringing this bill to the floor. By letting Lamar Smith control the Republican’s immigration agenda, he is not only making it more difficult to attract the Latino vote, but he is increasingly alienating key supporters of his own party, including agricultural interests and opponents of big government.”


 


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