Sunday, 14 July 2024 09:45

Immigration Reform: The Drawbacks of E-Verify

Monday, 30 March 2015

In “A Way Out on Immigration Reform” (Op-Ed, March 18), Alan K. Simpson and Bruce A. Morrison proffered a way to jump-start immigration reform.

Their proposal is to approve H.R. 1147, the Legal Workforce Act, introduced by Representative Lamar Smith and passed by the House Judiciary Committee in early March. It would require that every new hire in the United States be electronically verified.

E-Verify is harmful to employers. Most small businesses, 92 percent, do not use E-Verify. If these businesses do not comply, they would face significant financial penalties.

H.R. 1147 would cost employers $2.6 billion to implement, according to data from Bloomberg, and would increase the federal deficit by $30 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bill would devastate the agricultural industry, since close to 75 percent of seasonal fieldworkers are undocumented.

E-Verify would also harm workers. An independent study found that lawful permanent residents were four times more likely — and work-authorized immigrants were 27 times more likely — to receive an erroneous E-Verify determination.

Furthermore, there is no administrative appeal system in place if a worker receives an erroneous E-Verify determination. Under H.R. 1147, the only recourse a worker has is to hire a lawyer and sue an employer under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

E-Verify would harm employers, workers and the economy. A humane immigration policy that recognizes the labor rights of all workers is the way forward.

The proposal by a former senator and a former representative to mandate E-Verify as a bipartisan step toward immigration reform overlooks the structural flaws of comparable programs, past and present. They argue that E-Verify, currently voluntary, could be expanded to require all employers to submit and verify worker information online, in order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the work force and discourage newcomers.

The laws that already exist to prohibit employment of undocumented immigrants are underenforced and abused. Employers nationwide hire illegal immigrants off the books to undercut workers with visas, who require the minimum wage and benefits.

 The H-2 program allows employers with labor shortages to bring in temporary foreign workers, but is sidestepped with little consequence by employers unable or unwilling to pay $7.25 an hour. E-Verify will not prevent this abuse.

The proposal is more valid as a potential opportunity for bipartisan consensus than as an actual solution to unjust, unrealistic immigration policy.

Source: The New York


Google+ Google+