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Despite increasing opposition from within his own party, as well as concerns from labor unions, agriculture, and Latino groups, Lamar Smith is pushing onward with his destructive, anti-immigrant “jobs agenda.” Tomorrow morning, the House Judiciary Committee will take up Smith’s E-Verify bill during a “markup” hearing, where they’ll consider various amendments from Democrats and Republicans and (eventually) vote on whether to approve the bill or stop it in its tracks.
We’ll be livetweeting the hearing as always, so check out http://www.twitter.com/americasvoice starting at 10:15 am EST tomorrow for the latest developments and most outrageous statements of the day. In particular, here are some things to watch for:
Will Republicans protect American workers from government mistakes, or will they admit that the program’s a sham?
During opening statements on the bill last week, Democrats on the committee pointed out repeatedly that E-Verify will force hundreds of thousands of legal American workers to fight bureaucrats in order to correct errors in the database, or lose their jobs because they’re falsely labeled “unauthorized.” Meanwhile, over 50% of undocumented immigrants are actually approved by the system. When confronted with the cold hard facts, Republicans basically stuck their fingers in their ears: Dan Lungren (R-CA) said “I hope we’re not setting a standard of perfection before we pass something,” while Steve King (R-IA) argued that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans were just necessary collateral damage: “How do you make a database perfect? You use it!” Will Republicans endorse amendments that might actually protect American workers-as they claim to want to do-or will they expose the sham by ignoring E-Verify’s flaws?
Will Republicans acknowledge the deepening fault lines within the GOP?
As we told you last week, Republicans and conservatives-from the Wall Street Journal editorial board to Tea Party groups to Rick Perry–are taking up arms against Smith and his bill. Smith couldn’t even get united support from Republicans during last week’s E-Verify speeches, when Dan Lungren attacked the effect Lamar’s “jobs agenda” would have on the agriculture industry. Meanwhile, Steve King has been complaining that the bill doesn’t allow states to pass their own bills that will go even further in harassing undocumented and Latino workers. Will Republican amendments try to heal these splits, or will they continue to fester?
For the answers to these and many other questions (like “How many times can Republicans claim that they’re passing E-Verify to help minority workers without cracking up at their own hypocrisy?”), tune in to our twitter feed starting at 10:15 am EST tomorrow, Wednesday, September 21st.
When things go down, you’ll be the first to know.