The Smith-Grassley push to make the ineffective and burdensome E-Verify program mandatory nationwide continues to generate significant opposition from a broad range of observers, from the editorial board of La Opinion, the largest Spanish-language daily in the U.S., to the Service Employees International Union, to respected columnist Andres Oppenheimer.
Interestingly, the Smith plan is also garnering strong opposition from the extreme right of the GOP.
It is difficult to understand why the House Republican leadership is allowing Rep. Lamar Smith and Rep. Elton Gallegly to charge forward on mandatory E-Verify. This will only make issues with our broken immigration system worse by driving workers into the underground economy. It will also lead to billions lost in tax revenue, incentives for employers to exploit workers and undermine honest competitors. E-verify has such a huge error rate that thousands of legal workers won’t get hired. In the meantime, farmers and small businesses will get hit the hardest at a time we need them the most. This is a policy disaster from start to finish – and only adds to the Republicans’ political problems with Latino voters.
Among recent and prominent voices expressing opposition to the bill include:
- La Opinión editorialized that mandatory E-Verify would significantly impede our national economic recovery. The Spanish language editorial notes that the state of Georgia’s agriculture industry offers a preview of what we could expect nationwide with adoption of mandatory E-Verify. Georgia’s harvest is rotting in the fields because of a lack of workers, to the point that Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA) has called for paroled convicts to replace the immigrants that previously did this job. However, growers are complaining that they can’t depend on their new workers.
- Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), wrote in an op-ed in The Hill of the economic and bureaucratic toll threatened by mandatory E-Verify, stating, “Instead of trying to grow new jobs, the Smith bill would further cripple the economy by mandating that all employers rely on an error-ridden government database that does not accurately verify worker eligibility” Eliseo Medina also pointed to the heavy burden that this program would put on small businesses, agriculture and restaurant industries specifically. As well as to taxpayers and U.S. workers who would have to deal with a bigger underground economy that would drive wages down for everyone, including U.S. citizens and residents.
- Andres Oppenheimer, a syndicated columnist and member of the Miami Herald editorial board, wrote in the Miami Herald of the misplaced assumptions made by those pushing for the bill and the counterproductive outcomes we can expect if the legislation moves forward. Writes Oppenheimer, ” Whoever thinks that millions of undocumented immigrants, many of whom have American children, would simply leave their families behind and go back to their home countries is either kidding himself, or is trying to take the rest of us down the dangerous road of blaming immigrants for the U.S. economic crisis.”
The Smith proposal is also getting strong opposition from some on the far right. Mass-deportation legal architect and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote in the New York Post last week:
While the Smith bill sounds good, in fact, it hobbles immigration enforcement. Negotiated with the pro-amnesty US Chamber of Commerce, the bill would establish a fairly toothless E-Verify requirement while defanging the only government bodies that are serious about enforcing immigration law — the states.
Other anti-immigrant writers on such forums as National Review have picked up the Kobach message and are similarly asserting that the bill will straitjacket the laboratories of anti-immigrant democracy.
Across the political spectrum, the more people learn about the legislation, the more problems they have with it. No one will benefit from mandatory E-verify — not American taxpayers, job seekers, or business owners.