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Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee approved Rep. Lamar Smith’s E-Verify bill on a party-line vote after considering a series of amendments. Rep. Lamar Smith has consistently maintained that his E-Verify bill is about protecting American workers. He has the audacity to call it a “jobs bill,” even though it’s clearly not. That was exposed yesterday when Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee offered a number of pro-worker amendments. All were defeated due to Republican opposition, with Rep. Smith leading the charge.
What Smith isn’t telling us (and never will) is that his E-Verify “jobs plan” will come at a large cost to small businesses, the nation’s agriculture industry, the average American worker, and every immigrant – including naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, and undocumented workers who are the backbone of American agriculture.
That means you, and just about everyone else you know.
Following is a list of some of the pro-worker amendments that Judiciary Committee Republicans voted down today before passing this anti-worker bill out of committee:
1) Rep. Jackson-Lee’s amendment to create immigration offense penalizing employers who discriminate using EVerify
2) Rep. Deutch’s amendment to allow victims of E-Verify to file class action lawsuits
3) Rep. Nadler’s amendment to create due process protections (meaning that the legal rights of workers harmed by the system would be respected)
4) Rep. JacksonLee’s amendment to prevent an employee from getting fired based on a “tentative” rejection from E-Verify, before a “final” ruling has been made
5) Rep. Waters’ amendment requiring that any HR representative using E-Verify be trained and certified by DHS to know how touse the system correctly, and explain the program to job applicants
The staunch opposition by the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to these pro-worker amendments further reveals that their agenda isn’t about protecting America’s workers. It’s really about Republicans pushing an anti-immigrant agenda aimed at a forced mass-exodus of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in this country — a move that is not only nearly impossible to achieve, but one that could severely damage the US economy and will kill jobs.
These are some of the same Republicans who have long stood in opposition to protections for workers. In January, America’s Voice Education Fund released a report, The Anti-Worker Truth about the Republican House Judiciary Committee, which documented their long track record of voting against pro-worker policies. At the time, SEIU’s International Secretary Treasurer Eliseo Medina noted, “Rep. Smith, Gallegly, and King are false prophets with no interest in helping working families, they have consistently opposed policies that help workers and the American taxpayers.”
That was true then, and it is true now.
In fact, this week, John Wilhelm, the President of UNITE HERE wrote to Smith to convey the union’s opposition to the E-Verify bill. “UNITE HERE expresses its strong opposition to H.R. 2885 because it believes that the imposition of mandatory E-Verify will hurt workers, kill jobs, and threaten small businesses. H.R. 2885 will require all employers to use E-Verify, but workers will feel much of the bill’s impact,” he wrote.
According to Huffington Post’s Elise Foley, last week Smith said: “Yes, E-Verify is a jobs killer, but only for illegal workers.”
Not true. Thanks to Lamar Smith and his Republican colleagues, hundreds of thousands of jobs held by Americans are in jeopardy.