tags: Press Releases

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Loves Ineffective Big Government

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Peddles Falsehoods to Sell Mandatory E-Verify Program

Washington – In his zeal to try to force 11 million undocumented immigrants to pack up and leave, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is pushing to make the burdensome and ineffective E-Verify program mandatory across the nation.  His plan would force all workers—including U.S citizens—to ask a government database for permission to work.

In his effort to sell the plan, however, Smith is lying about how “effective” it really is.  During a recent Fox Business interview with the equally truth-challenged Lou Dobbs, Smith claimed E-Verify was 99% effective.  Yet the government’s own statistics show that E-Verify has a fail rate of more than 50%.  In a USCIS study conducted by Westat in 2009, only 46% of unauthorized workers were correctly detected by the E-Verify system—the other 54% were deemed authorized to work.  In addition, if the program is made mandatory and national, millions of legal immigrants and citizens will be falsely identified as “unauthorized” due to the program’s flawed databases.  Using current error rates, 3.6 million workers will have to try to get their records corrected by a government agency in order to keep their jobs, and 770,000 legal workers will lose their jobs due to bureaucratic mistakes, every year.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “That Lamar Smith, a man who thinks that government does little right and should stay out of the way, is proposing ‘government as the solution’ through E-Verify shows the depths of his commitment to mass deportation.  Mandatory E-Verify won’t force millions of workers to deport themselves.  Instead, it will send them into the cash economy, harm our economy, and impose new regulations and burdens on American workers and honest businesses.”

“If Democrats proposed legislation that would cause the loss of almost 800,000 jobs, force 4 million more workers into an administrative quagmire, burden small businesses, destroy the agricultural industry, reduce tax revenue by billions – and fail to work at least half of the time – Republicans would be apoplectic,” continued Sharry.

Supporters of E-Verify make it sound easy and harmless: a simple online check of your social security number and other personal data, and you’re done.  If you are undocumented, it will be found out and you will not be allowed to work.  Yet the unintended consequences of mandatory E-verify are enormous, and the payoff is less than impressive:

  • Due to the error rate of the program, the government estimates that mandatory E-Verify will force between 3 million and 4.1 million American workers to try to get their records corrected by a government agency or lose their jobs.  These errors put an enormous burden on workers and can result in loss of wages, adverse action by employers, and loss of employment. 
  • The government also estimates that 770,000 American workers would lose their jobs due to database errors.  In FY10, an estimated 80,000 Americans unfairly lost their jobs because of E-Verify.
  • By the government’s own statistics, E-Verify will only identify undocumented workers less than 50% of time.  The rest of the time, undocumented workers will use documents that allow them to pass through the verification system. 
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says we would lose at least $17 billion in tax revenue as jobs move into cash economy – a shift E-Verify would mandate. 
  • The Government Accounting Office (GAO) called the process of fixing government database errors “formidable” and SSA reported in 2010 that 3.3 million visitors left a field office without receiving service.
  • Up to 75 percent of the U.S. agricultural labor force are unauthorized workers.  Mandatory E-Verify will destroy American agriculture, driving up food costs, sending jobs overseas, and forcing us to import more of our produce from foreign sources. 

Said Sharry, “The smarter, more practical, and fiscally responsible approach is clear.  Instead of passing mandatory E-Verify, Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

 America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.