Tell Congress: No More Red Tape! Stop Job-Killing E-Verify Legislation
Today, in cities across the U.S., communities are coming together to stop H.R. 2164, legislation presented by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith. H.R. 2164 would make it mandatory for nearly every employer in the U.S. to use a computer program to access an error-prone government database to verify whether or not a job applicant is eligible to work before any worker could start a new job through a process known as “e-verify.” This legislation is expected to be taken up by the House Judiciary committee for markup tomorrow.
E-Verify will hurt all businesses and the fragile economy, and will leave workers more vulnerable to abuse on the job by giving unscrupulous employers yet another tool to use against workers who try to stand up for their rights.
E-Verify will place a significant burden on small businesses, raising their costs even as they are struggling in this economy. Almost every business—no matter how small—will be forced to implement this complicated system. The estimated cost to small businesses is $2.6 billion, according to Bloomberg News.
E-Verify has been found to erroneously identify a significant portion of U.S. citizens and lawful residents as potentially unauthorized to work. Based on estimates of the E-Verify error rate drawn directly from DHS’ own reports, at least 1.2 million lawful workers would have to get their records fixed or lose their jobs if E-Verify becomes mandatory. These errors can be triggered by something which can be triggered by something as simple as a marital name change. In workplaces already using e-verify, many workers have been fired before getting a chance to clear up their records. To make matters worse, there is no centralized place to contact to fix records and, according to the GAO, in 2009 the average response time for such requests was a staggering 104 days.
Mandatory E-Verify is a jobs killer. It is bad for working people, bad for business, and bad for the economy. That is why community leaders, small business owners, and workers are speaking out today against the E-Verify program.
Instead of legislation that marginalizes workers and creates more red tape for small businesses, our country needs humane reform of our current immigration laws and a robust jobs program that creates new opportunities and ensures workers aren’t abused and illegally underpaid on the job. Instead of the same enforcement-only ideas, we need innovative legislation, like the POWER Act and visionary campaign, like the Caring Across Generations, that would create millions of good jobs and strengthen workers’ rights protections.