Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed Rep. Lamar Smith’s mandatory E-Verify bill on a party-line vote, and you can bet that the GOP leadership is sweating about this. If Smith’s E-Verify plan is successful, it would devastate the agriculture industry, where undocumented immigrants make up 75% of the workforce.

Proposed legislation that would require employers across the country to use the electronic employment-verification program known as E-Verify passed out of a congressional House committee today. The bill, HR 2885, would require that almost every business in the country adopt the program within two years of the bill’s final passage.

Yesterday, The House Judiciary Committee approved Rep. Lamar Smith’s E-Verify bill on a party-line vote after considering a series of amendments. Rep. Lamar Smith has consistently maintained that his E-Verify bill is about protecting American workers, even though it’s clearly not.

The House Judiciary Committee just voted, 22 – 13, to pass Rep. Lamar Smith’s E-Verify bill, H.R. 2885. It was a party line vote. All the Democrats voted no while the GOP members voted with Smith. The next step in the House is up to Republican leadership. And, Smith’s bill is generating serious controversy among traditional GOP allies.

Conservative, tea-party and libertarian groups have joined liberals in fighting a signature Republican bill in Congress that would crack down on illegal-immigrant workers. The legislation, they argue, would hurt businesses and employees while expanding government regulation.

A hotly contested bill moving this week would compel employers to verify worker eligibility via the Internet while it ratchets up the nation’s perennial immigration debate. Farmers fear it. Skeptics sweat potential errors. But in the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee, mandatory E-Verify is now an idea whose time has come.

Despite increasing opposition from within his own party, as well as concerns from labor unions, agriculture, and Latino groups, Lamar Smith is pushing onward with his destructive, anti-immigrant “jobs agenda.”

Despite publicly expressing confidence over the legislation’s prospects, leading anti-immigrant lawmaker Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) had a difficult week promoting his mandatory E-Verify bill.

A growing chorus of conservatives is hammering a Republican proposal requiring businesses to verify the legal status of the workers they hire. The conservative critics – including Republican lawmakers, Tea Party groups and border-state governors – are airing a long string of complaints.

As technology grows more sophisticated and the American government and its corporate allies further refine their methods of keeping tabs on citizens, those of us who treasure privacy increasingly find ourselves engaged in a struggle to maintain our freedoms in the midst of the modern surveillance state.