The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), as well as the Heritage Foundation, have recently claimed that up to 300,000 construction jobs created by the economic stimulus bill could be filled by undocumented immigrants. CIS arrives at this scary number by using a job-creation formula designed for highway expenditures in 2007, and then tacking on an estimate of the undocumented construction workforce from 2005—before the mass layoffs that have plagued the construction industry. Beyond the use of fuzzy math, CIS also suggests that the federal government’s “E-Verify” employment-verification pilot program could prevent undocumented immigrants from securing these new jobs. Yet numerous reports—from the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General, and a Department of Homeland Security contractor, among others—indicate that rushing to implement E-Verify on a national scale would be a costly mistake that would ensnare U.S. citizens in database errors and wouldn’t actually stop undocumented immigrants from getting jobs. “Enforcement-only” attempts to stop undocumented immigration have failed repeatedly for more than 20 years. Only a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that allows exploited undocumented immigrants to become legal workers will fix our broken immigration system in a way that benefits all workers.
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.
Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a report detailing the disturbing links between three immigration restrictionist groups: the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Numbers USA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These groups describe themselves as "advocates of lower immigration," yet the report depicts much darker motives underlying their work. The SPLC report makes clear that they are in fact a full-throated anti-immigrant lobby and not interested in a balanced debate.
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.
Many people assume that their family immigrated to the U.S. legally, or did it “the right way.” In most cases, this statement does not reflect the fact that the U.S. immigration system was very different when their families arrived, and that their families might not have been allowed to enter had today’s laws been in effect. In some cases, claiming that a family came “legally” is simply inaccurate—undocumented immigration has been a reality for generations.
Latinos weren't the only group that flexed its muscles this past Election Day. New Americans--naturalized citizens and the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were born during the current era of immigration that began in 1965--make up another important demographic group that demonstrated its ability to swing an election.