E-Verify Stripped in Stimulus Bill, Amnesty Next?

Written by Julie Kirchner

February 13, 2009

Is E-Verify Just Part of a Bigger Amnesty Push?

By Julie Kirchner, Executive Director of FAIR
It is truly incomprehensible to me that Congress deliberately stripped the E-Verify language from the Stimulus Bill. Those amendments, authored by Congressmen Calvert and Kingston, would have reauthorized this valuable program and required all recipients of taxpayer-funded stimulus money to use this program.

While this makes infinite sense to the American people, apparently common logic does not apply inside the beltway. Clearly a different agenda is being pushed on Capitol Hill, and this debate over E-Verify has helped crystallize what it is.

A short while ago, Senator Dodd (D-CT) walked onto the Senate floor and addressed some members' disappointment that certain items were not in the final bill. He specifically referred to Senator Sessions' frustration about the fact that the E-Verify program was stripped. Sen. Dodd voiced his support for the program and happily announced that when the Senate takes up the Continuing Resolution in two weeks, the new bill will include an extension of E-Verify until September 30th (the end of the fiscal year).

This is infuriating on so many levels. In particular, it's important for readers to understand that Democratic Leadership has been playing this game since last fall. They all say how much they support using E-Verify to verify the work authorization of new employees, but when it comes time to truly give this program the long-term commitment that it deserves, they only reauthorize it in short increments.

That begs the question, if Congressional Leaders support E-Verify, why don't they reauthorize it long-term, or even permanently? Clearly the answer is that they intend to hold E-Verify hostage for more visas, or worse yet, an amnesty bill. All of this coincides perfectly with a report Doris Meissner, former Commissioner of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and now a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, released last week singing the praises of E-Verify and saying required use of the program should be the centerpiece of a bill to tackle illegal immigration. There should be no mistaking that Meissner (who worked for the Clinton Administration and is advising the Obama administration on immigration policy) means an amnesty bill.

This back-and-forth game has been going on for long enough. If everyone says they support E-Verify and agrees that it is key preserving jobs for legal workers, it should be authorized permanently, not held hostage to amnesty. Next week, many Senators and Representatives will be returning to their home districts. Please, take the time to call, e-mail, or visit your Senators and Representatives District offices and urge them to support a long-term reauthorization of the E-Verify program with no strings attached!

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