For years the U.S. government has addressed unauthorized immigration primarily through the lens of deportation and removal, pursuing enforcement-only policies that have not effectively curbed unauthorized immigration. An increase of personnel and technology along the U.S.-Mexico border has been accompanied by increased worksite enforcement in the interior of the United States. In addition, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has partnered with state and local police agencies and jails to identify and apprehend immigrants and to remove them from the country. None of these efforts has resulted in a significant decline in the size of the unauthorized population, but these enforcement policies and priorities have had devastating impacts on U.S. families and communities.
We can expect comprehensive reform legislation to mandate that all employers use some sort of system that verifies the work authorization of all workers. Since this will affect every single worker in the United States - immigrants and citizens alike - and because an error in the system can cost a worker his job and paycheck, it is important to make the system workable. This report lays out the must-haves for any broad employment verification system and lays out why a system like this can only work if it is within the context of a broader reform package.
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people to a broader range of issues.
As health care bills make their way through Congress, lawmakers are debating whether or not to include overly burdensome citizenship verification requirements to ensure that unauthorized immigrants do not have access to health insurance. However, past attempts to implement these kinds of additional measures have prevented U.S. citizens and legal immigrants from receiving health care, while uncovering very few instances of unauthorized immigrants trying to abuse the system. In fact, research shows that unauthorized immigrants do not come to the United States for health care benefits or any other public services for which they are not eligible. These additional measures threaten to ensnare far more citizens than unauthorized immigrants and add unnecessary costs to health care reform.
A key part of comprehensive immigration reform will no doubt be the implementation of an electronic employment-verification system (EEVS). Since EEVS affects every single person working in the United States—immigrants and citizens alike—is it important to consider several key areas that must be addressed to make such a system workable and effective.
The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week showing that apprehensions of undocumented immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border are at their lowest level since 1973, leaving many observers contemplating the factors responsible for this decline. Is it the recession-plagued U.S. economy or beefed-up enforcement efforts? New data from a research team led by Wayne Cornelius, Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego, sheds light on the decline in apprehensions and reveals the surprising, unintended consequences of border enforcement.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released various sets of data regarding the accuracy and error rates of the E-Verify employment-verification system. Although the numbers change often depending on the time period, the number of employers using the system, and the number of queries to the system, DHS generally claims that E-Verify is highly accurate and efficient. However, it is important to understand exactly what the DHS numbers mean in order to have a clear picture of how well E-Verify is performing. Most importantly, E-Verify is not simply an immigration-enforcement tool. If it were to become a mandatory, nation-wide program, it would affect every single person who works in the United States, including U.S. citizens. Even tiny error rates would mean big problems for large numbers of citizens and other legal workers. Under mandatory E-Verify, 60 million new hires would have to be verified annually, and up to 3 million U.S. workers per year would have to navigate government bureaucracy to fix database errors. Read more...
Expanding mandatory E-Verify as part of the stimulus package would threaten the jobs of thousands of U.S. citizens, decrease productivity, saddle U.S. businesses with additional costs, and hinder the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) ability to provide benefits to needy and deserving Americans – all at a time when we need to stimulate our economy. The fact is: expanding E-Verify now would decelerate the Stimulus Package and slow America’s economic recovery.
Over the past year and a half, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining international publicity in the process. Yet a growing number of elected officials, media outlets, and religious and civic leaders have criticized Sheriff Arpaio’s tactics and their impact on his community. In addition, two independent reports by the East Valley Tribune and the Goldwater Institute describe a Sheriff’s department where crime-solving is down and racial profiling and budget expenditures are way up.