According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, “E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce.”
So who’s afraid of E-Verify? Apparently many conservative Republican Florida state legislators are. Most notably, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who refused to bring E-Verify up for a floor vote when he was House Speaker. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater did the same when he was President of the Florida Senate. Current Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos brought an illegal immigration bill before that body, but it lacked the “teeth” that E-Verify would have provided. Rumor has it that’s what prompted to him to drop out of the primary battle to face Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.
Florida Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, also voted to remove E-Verify from the bill, stating that it was too complex, too expensive and would impose a huge burden on businesses. I would direct Senator Bogdanoff to the wording from the government’s own website, “E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use.”
I recently spoke to a U.S. Immigration officer on this issue last week. He indicated that E-Verify involves a one-page form that the applicant completes and presents to the employer, together with two matching pieces of identification. The employer then enters the data into the government database, which quickly determines the applicant’s eligibility to work. The officer admitted that the system has a few minor glitches, but even if the glitches were to account for one false hit out of a thousand, it’s far more accurate than the alternative, which is doing nothing at all.
Sen. Bogdanoff will be facing primary opposition in her 2012 re-election bid from Mike Lameyer, a local conservative GOP activist and author of The Screwing of Mr. & Mrs. Joe America. E-Verify is one of the principle issues Lameyer is campaigning on, and he makes some powerful arguments.
He points to studies indicating that illegal immigration costs Floridians upwards of $4 billion per year, which, if eliminated, would turn our projected $2 billion shortfall into a $2 billion surplus. He also indicates that in his experience, E-Verify is self-policing. In most cases, when an illegal applicant is presented with an E-Verify form, he simply turns around and walks out. Finally, he submits that mechanization has removed much of the former need for cheap foreign labor. In many cases, it’s made farming more profitable. In any event, I can’t imagine anyone begrudging a few more pennies for a pound of tomatoes, especially if the consumer would no longer be on the hook for the shortfall the state now faces.
Critics of E-Verify argue that other labor-intensive industries, such as construction and hospitality, depend deeply upon foreign labor for their existence. Proponents of slavery in the antebellum South made much the same argument. Eventually they were proved wrong. It took a civil war to do it then. It’s going to take a politically courageous Florida state legislature to disprove that tired, old argument today.
I thought critics claim it was gov't interfering with our privacy-which hasn't made sense to me since I am American born, have all my gov't issued docs, have to get fingerprinted everytime I take a new job or do home health as a healthcare provider, etc.
So what's the beef?? we need illegals to stay illegal??? to fill jobs legal Americans could do????
I never understood what the beef was either, Kate. Nonetheless, E-Verify never seems to get passed. The Lord knows I love Marco Rubio and I'd vote again for him in a heartbeat, but, just like the rest, he never let it out of committee.
When I was researching this, I got a chuckle out of Jeff Atwater. Now that he's our Chief Financial Officer, he says that he favors E-Verify. It's too bad he didn't feel that way when he was Senate President and could actually do something about it.