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The next hearing of the GOP-led House Immigration Subcommittee will showcase more of House Republicans’ mass deportation “vision” on immigration. The hearing, which is scheduled for tomorrow, is about making E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the United States.
For those of you who don’t know, E-Verify is part of a Republicans’ strategy of expelling 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families from the country. However, if the program worked as Reps. Smith, Gallegly, and King hope, the GOP would essentially be deporting the entire U.S. agriculture industry and send more of our nation’s food supply—and jobs–overseas.
Our nation’s agriculture industry is already facing a labor crisis, and it is heavily reliant on an existing labor force, which is made up mostly of undocumented immigrants. The Republicans’ vision for E-Verify would gut the entire sector. Imagine – this would mean more food rotting in the fields, driving up prices for American consumers, and outsourcing even more of our food supply and food security. All of which, considering the state of our economy, Americans can’t afford.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that for every on-farm job in America, there are about 3.1 “upstream” and “downstream” jobs in the nation. If you do the math, the movement of U.S. agriculture overseas would lead to increased unemployment for Americans.
In other words: expelling hard-working immigrants from jobs would not result in more jobs for Americans. It would result in a dramatic downturn in production and further bleeding of American jobs.
Not to mention, the actual costs of expanding e-verify are staggering. Recently, Bloomberg found that, had a mandatory E-Verify system been in effect in FY2010, it would have cost small businesses $2.6 billion nationwide. A proposal to mandate E-Verify in 2008 was scored by CBO as costing American taxpayers $17 billion in lost revenue.
Beyong the food security and economic consequences of deporting U.S. agriculture, the costs of E-Verify and the House Republicans’ mass deportation fantasies would be staggering to American taxpayers, small businesses, and our entire economy.
By pushing E-Verify without comprehensive immigration reform, Smith and his crew could end up doing real damage to our country’s agricultural industry and economy, while driving more jobs either overseas or underground.