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Mandatory E-Verify Push Dangerous for California Economy, GOP Members of Congress
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently called U.S. immigration policy “national suicide,” in light of the missed opportunities to strengthen our economy and communities through common sense immigration reform. By championing mass deportation policies like mandatory E-Verify and blocking comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, California Representatives Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Dan Lungren (R-CA), and Brian Bilbray (R-CA) are helping to prove Mayor Bloomberg’s point.
The consequences of mandatory E-Verify for California’s agriculture industry would be particularly dire. But interestingly enough, passing legislation like mandatory E-Verify could also have serious political consequences for Gallegly, Lungren, Bilbray and other California Republicans—a form of political suicide as well.
The battle around forced E-Verify will begin in Congress this summer, as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) advances his bill, H.R. 2164, the Legal Workforce Act. A Senate version that goes even further was introduced by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA).
Reps. Gallegly and Lungren are poised to determine the fate of this legislation, given their seats on the House Judiciary Committee. They are both cosponsors of the Smith bill. Rep. Bilbray, while not a member of the Committee, is chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus – the self-appointed champions of enforcement-only immigration policy in the U.S. House. Each of them are also heading into tough 2012 re-election battles, and taking a position on immigration reform that is at odds with a growing number of voters in their own backyards.
Mandatory E-Verify may sound benign to the layperson, but it is actually the centerpiece of anti-immigrant restrictionists’ mass deportation agenda. Their goal to drive 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families out of the country – including over 3 million agricultural workers alone. The plan is derived from the belief that immigrants—predominantly Latino immigrants—are bad for this country and should be forced to leave by any means possible.
Of course, passing mandatory E-Verify is not going to force millions of Latino immigrants to leave the country; it will simply send more jobs and workers into the cash economy and completely destabilize California’s agriculture industry. It will also send even more Latino voters into the arms of Democrats, as Republicans like Gallegly, Lungren, and Bilbray identify themselves with the forced deportation approach instead of practical, comprehensive immigration reform.
Not only is this a bad policy choice for California, but supporting a warmed over mass deportation approach is a bad political choice for Reps. Gallegly, Lungren, and Bilbray as well. Given the way their congressional districts are changing due to demographic trends and redistricting, the smarter move for these California Republicans would be to point the GOP toward an inclusive, fair, and practical immigration solution instead of championing the restrictionists’ cause in Congress.
About This Report
In the following pages, read why the forced E-Verify approach as advocated by Reps. Gallegly, Lungren, Bilbray, and their allies in Congress is a potential disaster for the nation’s economy – in particular, California’s precious agriculture industry.
Then, read why the same approach is also a precarious political move for California Republicans, who are increasingly shooting themselves in the foot with Latino voters. In fact, out of the thirty Republican co-sponsors of the Smith E-Verify bill as of July 11, 2011, 33% (ten) are from California.
From both a policy and political perspective, Gallegly, Lungren, Bilbray and other Republicans pushing for the ineffective, costly, and burdensome forced E-Verify program are heading toward disaster.