Cross-Posted at Jack and Jill Politics and Daily Kos:
In his never-ending push to justify his plans of expelling immigrants from the country, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) resorted to one of his old standbys yesterday: do it for the minorities!
His Judiciary Committee began to mark-up his bill to fire every undocumented worker from their job and make the lives of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country so unbearable that they pack up and leave.
But like most race-based fantasies of the far right, Smith’s bill has a few unintended consequences — namely, that 800,000 American workers would lose their jobs too. Oops?
However, pay no attention to the facts because Rep. Smith, with his failing score of 6 percent from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, has once again crowned himself as a champion of the black and brown. He writes in Politico that his new massive database system, called E-Verify, is not only the nation’s answer to the unemployment crisis overall but — get this — one that is especially good for minorities:
Congress has the opportunity to pass a bill that could open up countless jobs for unemployed American minorities. It would require that all U.S. employers use the E-Verify program.
E-Verify quickly identifies people illegally working here and protects jobs for American workers. It will especially benefit unemployed minorities.
Not exactly. Not even close.
In Smith’s fantasy, E-Verify will force the deportation of approximately 11 million undocumented workers in America. Then, unemployed citizens will fill those jobs. Apparently, unemployed workers in cities will flock to rural areas to work in the fields. That’s not going to happen. There’s recent evidence: Earlier this summer, when Georgia passed E-Verify for the state, it created an economic crisis for farmers and then there weren’t workers to fill the jobs.
In addition, non-partisan analysis has found that Smith’s bill will cause a loss of 800,000 jobs; milllions more will be forced into a ridiculous bureaucratic tangle of getting records corrected by a government agency. Good luck If you have a first and last name that’s slightly hard to pronounce or spell.
Add to that the fact that E-Verify is like the Netscape to your Google. Out of every 100 undocumented immigrants entered into the system, only 46 of them will show up as undocumented. It doesn’t work. However, E-Verify’s existence will be efficient at scaring 11 million brown people, so that they have to get really good at hiding really fast.
Civil rights groups have seen Smith’s tired game before and aren’t buying it.
Besides being anti-immigrant, Lamar Smith has a bleak record on issues relating to civil rights and protecting workers. He voted against Equal Pay for Women and opposed the Employee Free Choice Act. He repeatedly voted against extending unemployment benefits. He voted against Foreclosure Relief, while nearly half the victims of mortgage loan modification scams are of African-American, Hispanic, or Asian descent according to the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF). He’s earned an “F” grade from some of the country’s biggest Labor Unions and, again, he’s got a “Civil Rights Score” of 6%. And now, with E-Verify, Smith all of a sudden cares about minority workers?
With the sun still rising in the East and as pigs aren’t yet flying, I think we can all be fairly confident that Lamar hasn’t changed his xenophobic ways.