Yes, “Grapes of Wrath: the Sequel” is now playing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. It’s being directed by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
Supported by GOP leadership, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is promoting his E-Verify program as a “jobs” bill that will ease unemployed Americans’ woes. It’s telling that the first GOP “jobs plan” introduced this year would send unemployed manufacturing workers in Ohio or Michigan to the fields to pick fruit and vegetables. And who woulda thunk that the jobs bill would emanate from the Judiciary Committee?
E-Verify quickly identifies those working illegally in the United States. Requiring it for all employers will open up more jobs for Americans and legal immigrants.” But if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Making E-Verify mandatory for all employers across the nation will make the situation worse, not better, for American businesses, workers, and taxpayers. Not only will it fail to identify undocumented immigrants at least half the time, but it will jeopardize the jobs of millions of Americans, cost small businesses billions of dollars to implement, reduce tax revenues by at least $17 billion as workers and jobs move into the cash economy, and threaten the viability of the entire agriculture industry—as well as the jobs that depend on it.
Smith’s piece was a thin-skinned response to an earlier op-ed from Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Medina, who knows a thing or two about jobs and working people, pointed out the laughable rationale behind the Smith proposal:
As damaging as the bill is, Rep. Smith’s rationale is even more preposterous. He asserts that, if unauthorized immigrants are chased out, jobs will be available for America’s unemployed. First, two-thirds of the workers who were disqualified after Arizona’s E-Verify law became mandatory did not leave, but entered the cash economy. Second, laid off workers with graduate degrees are not lining up for stoop labor. This bill is a jobs killer.