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E-Verify: Burdens Businesses and Displaces U.S. Workers

Congressional Hearing Ignores Impacts on Business and Asserts it's Good for Workers

Released on Thu, Feb 10, 2011

Washington D.C. - Today, the House Immigration Subcommittee held its second hearing of the new session. Ironically, the hearing was titled "E-Verify - Preserving Jobs for American Workers." Some members of Congress persist in their belief that expanding E-Verify and making it mandatory is a magic-bullet solution to our immigration woes. However, data and analysis demonstrate that expanding E-Verify now would actually have harmful consequences for U.S. workers, employers, and the economy.

Earlier today, the Immigration Policy Center hosted a call with a U.S. citizen who was wrongfully terminated due to an E-Verify error, an attorney who sees first hand the economic impact voluntary E-Verify is having on U.S. businesses and workers, and policy experts.

U.S. citizen Jessica St. Pierre described her experience after being rejected by E-Verify. She spent four months trying to correct the error, which originated with her employer and E-Verify. Jessica dealt with federal agencies, credit bureaus and her former employer, trying to clear her name so she could return to work. Read Jessica's story.

Attorney Marketa Lindt laid out why mandatory E-Verify isn't ready for prime time and is an additional burden which U.S. business can't afford to shoulder: "Many employers recognize that they do not have the resources to train their staff and to maintain the E-Verify system for their company. Although the government always describes the E-Verify program as free for employers, anyone who runs a business knows that any process that takes staff time to implement costs the employer money. In fact, a recent Bloomberg study states that if E-Verify had been mandatory for employers last year, it would have cost U.S. employers $2.7 billion. And, as the vast majority of U.S. employers are small businesses, almost all of that $2.7 billion price tag would have been shouldered by our country's small businesses." Read more from Marketa Lindt here.

In testimony submitted to Congress, Tyler Moran, policy director at the National Immigration Law Center, gave the bottom-line problem with expanding E-Verify: "Making E-Verify mandatory outside of broader reform of our immigration system undermines American jobs and will ultimately impose new burdens on our economy, workers, and businesses. We have been trying an immigration enforcement-only approach for at least two decades now, and it has not worked. We need enforcement of labor, employment, and civil-rights laws, not the current churning of the workforce, where undocumented workers are preferred over documented workers because they are easier to hire and fire. That only results in further downward pressure on wages and working conditions of all U.S. workers."  

For the facts on E-Verify see: 

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