Photo: U.S. Bishops Oppose E-Verify Expansion
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign is urging Catholics to oppose the expansion of E-Verify in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. E-Verify is the federal government’s Internet-based system that allows employers to determine whether workers are eligible to work in the United States.
‘Justice for Immigrants’ is the action alert campaign the Conference of Bishop is running to help block the E-verify by asking everyone to contact their U.S. representatie and U.S. Senator.
According to the campaign:
Enforcement-only immigration policies are not working. In the past decade, Congress has spent $117 billion of taxpayer dollars on immigration enforcement initiatives, yet the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has grown to 11.2 million and the demand for foreign-born, low-skilled labor has continued on pace with the ebbs and flows of the U.S. economy. Approximately 8 million – or 70 percent – of the unauthorized population are in the U.S. labor force and each year another 300,000 to 400,000 enter the country. It is clear that another approach is necessary.
Yet, some in Congress are now calling for the mandatory expansion of E-Verify – a largely voluntary program which allows employers to electronically verify workers’ employment eligibility with Government databases. Only 250,000 some employers use the system today; some in Congress want to make its use mandatory by all 6 million U.S. employers.
The problem is that unless E-Verify’s expansion is undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, it will hurt U.S. workers and our already weakened economy. Unless Congress legalizes unauthorized immigrants, mandatory E-Verify will begin with a handicap of 8 million unauthorized workers who will be driven further into the underground economy, hurting both the U.S. economy and workers by decreasing federal tax revenue by more than $17.3 billion over ten years, creating an unequal workplace, and lowering labor standards for all workers.
And, because of well-documented flaws in the Government databases upon which it relies, E-Verify does not detect over half of the undocumented workers entered in the system, yet results in false positives for hundreds of thousands of American workers.
For these reasons, we urge you to let your Senators and Members know that unless and until the E-Verify program is improved and undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, you oppose its expansion and mandatory implementation.