Over the past year and a half, County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining international notoriety in the process. The East Valley Tribune of metro-Phoenix, Arizona, recently ran a series of articles chronicling its investigation of the immigration-enforcement activities of MCSO. Using MCSO case files, interviews with top-ranking officers, and other sources of data, reporters uncovered startling facts about the enormous price tag—both financial and social—of the Sheriff’s antics.
Most researchers agree that undocumented immigration to the United States is driven largely by economics. Yet, in a new report entitled "Homeward Bound: Recent Immigration Enforcement and the Decline in the Illegal Alien Population," CIS
Many who support deportation-only immigration measures are advocating for a universal electronic employment verification system (EEVS). Bills such as the “Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act” (H.R. 4088) and the “New Employee Verification Act of 2008” (H.R. 5515) would place enormous additional responsibilities on the Social Security Administration (SSA)—a critical but overburdened agency. In fact, H.R. 5515, authored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), would saddle the SSA with the job of administering the new mandatory and massive employment verification system.
While the U.S. government has poured billions upon billions of dollars into immigration enforcement, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically. Rather than reducing undocumented immigration, this enforcement-without-reform strategy has diverted the resources and attention of federal authorities to the pursuit of undocumented immigrants who are drawn here by the labor needs of our own economy.
Since the mid-1980s, the federal government has tried repeatedly, without success, to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to the United States with immigration-enforcement initiatives: deploying more agents, fences, flood lights, aircraft, cameras, and sensors along the southwest border with Mexico; increasing the number of worksite raids and arrests conducted throughout the country; expanding detention facilities to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants apprehended each year; and creating new bureaucratic procedures to expedite the return of detained immigrants to their home countries. At the same time, the economic integration of North America, the western hemisphere, and the world has accelerated, facilitating the rapid movement of goods, services, capital, information, and people across international borders. Moreover, the U.S. economy demands more workers at both the high-skilled and less-skilled ends of the occupational spectrum than the rapidly aging, native-born population provides. The U.S. government’s enforcement-without-reform approach to undocumented immigration has created an unsustainable contradiction between U.S. immigration policy and the U.S. economy. So far, the economy is winning.
During his first trip to the United States in April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of treating immigrants in the U.S. in dignified and humane manner. Without missing a beat, anti-immigrant voices, including CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton), took the occasion to push their rhetoric to a new level, lambasting the Pope for his comments.
This fact sheet shows that using the National Directory of New Hires for employment verification purposes, as called for in the "New Employee Verification Act of 2008" (HR5515), would seriously undermine the goals and effectiveness of the child support system, and furthermore, that the directory is not set up for employment eligibility verification purposes and could not be easily adapted.