Lamar Smith’s E-Verify Arguments Defy Logic

lamar smith

Rep. Lamar Smith

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:

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

michele waslinSmith’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.

Michele Waslin
Immigration Impact

Published by the LA Progressive on September 17, 2011
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About Michele Waslin

Michele Waslin, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Immigration Policy Center. She has authored several publications on immigration policy and post-9/11 immigration issues. Ms. Waslin appears regularly in English and Spanish-language media. Previously, she worked as Director of Immigration Policy Research at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Policy Coordinator at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. She received her Ph.D. in 2002 in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Political Science from Creighton University. (mwaslin@ailf.org)

Comments

  1. Sure, there’s no way to PROVE that illegal aliens take jobs from Americans. But if you’re a blue collar worker, especially in construction or another field that hires by the project, you can see illegal aliens working every day on jobs you and your buddies should be getting. Those employers are scamming the system by hiring illegal aliens under the table because they’re too cheap to pay minimum pay and workplace taxes that protect all of us, such as worker’s compensation and social security taxes. The employers also get away with disregarding workplace safety rules, because illegal aliens are afraid to demand their rights as employees. How can regular Americans complete with employees like that? The companies rake in the bucks by hiring these cheap employees, and the US public ends up footing the bill whenever they get hurt, and because their kids are automatically eligible for all of our social programs like free food, section 8 housing, free healthcare, social security disability, free education right up through college, etc.

    It’s hard to get evidence on employers that cheat us like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening a LOT. Naïve liberals help the dishonest employers with these silly statements like this author makes. There is “absolutely no evidence…” So what? If Michele Waslin wasn’t sitting at a desk writing articles that help big business and the illegal aliens they hire, she might care about the plight of those of us who’s careers have been devastated by the influx of illegal aliens in our country.

    What I want to know is why are so many liberals so focused on helping Hispanic immigrants break the law? Wouldn’t our country benefit from a more balanced immigration policy that includes people from many different nations and backgrounds, with a variety of languages besides Spanish? Because of the unbalanced immigration from Spanish speaking countries, we now have to pay for dual language communications in the schools and government. Why are Hispanic immigrants not expected to learn English just like Russian or German or Asian or other immigrants? Soon Hispanics will be demanding we pay for road signs and a million other things in Spanish. What makes their language so much more important than the languages of other immigrants? The Spanish already destroyed native cultures all over South America, Latin America and Mexico. Why are liberals from the United States so eager to accept and even PROMOTE Spanish domination here? Liberals cry racism whenever anyone tries to stop the undermining of American workers by illegal aliens, but how can is it racist to limit immigration unless they’re already trying to promote Hispanic interests first?

    I think Spanish is a lovely language (I studied it in school), and I care about the plight of people in poorer countries. But encouraging aliens to break into our country and steal our resources DOES NOT help their cause. It just makes hardworking Americans angry that they’re stealing from us. And when liberals and progressives push for political change that FAVORS Spanish immigrants over others, our independents decide to vote for Republicans instead of Democrats because at least the Republicans are willing to try to stop dishonest employers.

    It’s time for liberals to wise up and realize that illegal immigration hurts all of us, not just those of us who lose our jobs to the massive influx of illegal aliens.

  2. …there is absolutely no evidence that unauthorized immigration is responsible for high unemployment rates…

    That would be hard to prove, which is why there’s “no evidence,” but it’s obvious to everyone except those who keep promoting illegal immigration that aliens severely impact the employment prospects for the rest of us.

    … multiple government studies have shown that E-Verify is deeply flawed.

    So what? eVerify is just a computerized system. If it’s not working right, then the government should simply fix it. I suggest they open up registration for eVerify at Social Security offices and in Workforce Development/Employment offices so legal residents can preregister themselves. That would eliminate a lot of the potential problems.

    The author doesn’t want to use the system, not because it’s not working yet, but because she wants to promote more illegal immigration. If the eVerify system is up and running, illegal aliens will no longer be able to steal jobs away from US citizens.

    In addition to implementing eVerify, we should also put employers in jail for hiring illegal aliens. While we’re at it, let’s confiscate the unethical employers’ factories and farmlands like we do with drug dealers. That would go long way to eliminate the hiring of illegal aliens.

    Look, I don’t blame people for breaking into this country to try to make a better life for themselves or their kids. But it’s an undue hardship on the middle and working class Americans who have to pay for social security, healthcare, housing, food, education, etc., etc. for the millions of illegal aliens who sneak into our country and sap our resources. The rich get richer off their cheap labor, and the common American is stuck with the bill. Besides, we’re paying millions of dollars for an immigration system. Why are so many liberals promoting an end run around that system? Why not push for completely open borders so we can save the cost of our immigration system?

    Wise up, liberals. We’re getting duped into allowing millions of people to jump ahead of the immigration line. Let’s get eVerify running so we can stop these cheaters.

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