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Some “Jobs” Bill:  Mandatory E-Verify Would Kill Jobs & Burden Businesses

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Smith-Grassley Plan Will Expand Government Red Tape, Threaten Jobs of Legal Americans

Yesterday, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) claimed that his mandatory E-Verify legislation “is not an immigration bill, it’s a jobs bill.”  Judged through this lens, mandatory E-Verify is as much of a failure on economic measures and job creation terms as it is on immigration policy, as it would kill American jobs while burdening businesses with new red tape and costs.  

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Some jobs bill.  Mandatory E-Verify would destroy American jobs, pile burdensome and costly new requirements on small businesses, and decimate the ag industry, doing for the entire nation what Georgia farms are already experiencing.  When Lamar Smith calls this a jobs bill, perhaps he’s referring to the new HR departments that small businesses will need to create in order to deal with the unfunded mandates that will soon be forced upon them.  He’s certainly not referring to the 770,000 legal Americans who will lose their jobs due to database errors, and the millions more who will have to haggle with government bureaucrats to correct their records—just to be able to work.”

Here are three ways mandatory E-Verify will hurt job creation and our economy.

  • Instead of creating jobs for Americans, this plan would cost Americans their jobs.  Mandatory E-Verify would be a job-killer for 770,000 Americans and force millions more to spend time and money fighting with a government bureaucracy just to be able to work.  Given the E-Verify system’s current error rate and the average rate of workers hired in the U.S., up to 3.6 million authorized workers would be forced to get their records corrected by a government agency or risk losing their jobs every year.  To keep their jobs, they would be forced to navigate the Social Security Administration — which is already so overburdened that it turned away 3.3 million visitors to its offices in 2010 – and go through a bureaucratic process the Government Accounting Office has described as “formidable.”    
  • An “implementation tax” for small businesses, with expanded red tape and unfunded mandates.  Mandatory E-Verify would cost small businesses an estimated $2.6 billion to implement.  That’s $2.6 billion small businesses have to spend on government regulation, not job creation.  Remarkably, these costs would be in exchange for a system that identifies unauthorized workers only 46% of the time.  Adding onto these costs are the burdens and bureaucracies that would arise when a program currently used by only 4% of employers – and only 2% of small businesses – needs to scale up to encompass every employer in the nation within three years. 
  • Killing American agriculture – and American jobs in the process.  Mandatory E-Verify would do for the country what Georgia growers are currently experiencing due to that state’s E-Verify law.  Said Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Grower’s Association, “Fruits and vegetables in Georgia were worth $1.1 billion. We could see a $200 (million) to $250 million loss, potentially.  The consumer may or may not see a difference in price.”  Destroying American agriculture would also kill a range of associated jobs that rely on farm production.  In fact, each American agriculture job generates three additional jobs upstream or downstream.  Is the GOP jobs program really about sending unemployed factory workers to the fields?

Concluded Sharry, “For businesses, mandatory E-Verify would be about as convenient as going to the DMV on a Saturday morning, and as welcome to their bottom line as an IRS tax collector on April 15th.  And it would be even worse for American workers, as it will add new bureaucratic hurdles and cost hundreds of thousands their jobs due to government mistakes.  The more people learn about forced E-Verify, the more problems people have with this job killing proposal.” 

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