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Business Leaders & Conservatives Agree That E-Verify Is a Disaster for America’s Economy

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Lamar Smith and Chuck GrassleyRep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) continues to insist that his forced E-Verify legislation would be a good thing for the U.S. economy and U.S. job seekers.  However, Smith’s fellow conservatives and leading libertarians disagree. They join a growing number of business owners and independent experts that vehemently oppose the legislation. Let’s take a look at some of their legitimate arguments against E-Verify:

Business Owners Have Categorized E-Verify as a Costly and Job Killing Plan: Florida State Senator J.D. Alexander, also a citrus grower, noted that a state version of E-Verify “could have wrecked the state’s farming, hotel and construction industries because it would make it difficult to find workers since few U.S. citizens want those jobs” [Miami Herald paraphrasing of Alexander’s remarks.] Similarly, a Houston Chronicle article highlights opposition to Smith and Grassley’s scheme from three leading economic sectors: agriculture, hospitality, and manufacturing. According to Javier Palomarez of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce this bill would be a major financial burden for Hispanic small businesses that will have to pay approx. $147 per inquiry cost for potential hires. Palomarez stated:

“This is not about civil rights for us, it’s about business.”

Conservatives and Libertarians Reject Lamar Smith’s Plans: Prominent conservatives are also questioning the program’s job killing potential and the toll incurred by forcing an untested government program onto millions of business owners ignoring cost of implementation or effectiveness. Jim Harper of the Cato Institute stated:

“[E-Verify] would not reduce illegal immigration but rather push undocumented workers into the shadows.”

And Alex Nowrasteh of the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted that “there will be over a million workers a year who will not be able to be hired because of E-Verify’s errors.”  And former congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) stated, “This is an issue that should be bringing together those on the right and the left, similar to our efforts several years ago to rein in some of the abuses of the USA PATRIOT Act, for example.”