Controversial E-Verify Program Poised for Extension Until Sept. 30

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

The employee immigration status verification system known as E-Verify –hailed by conservatives, criticized by immigrant advocates– expired Friday. But the Senate was poised to renew it through Sept. 30 as part of the massive spending bill it approved yesterday.

E-Verify, which allows employers to check the immigration status of new hires, has been at the center of heated arguments. But the debate is not divided along partisan lines: President Barack Obama and both Republican and Democratic legislators want to keep the system in place.

According to Gannett News Service, the Senate was poised yesterday to approve the extension until the end of September, but it also rejected an amendment to re-authorize the program for five years.

Democratic leaders opposed (Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’) amendment because it would have slowed passage of the overall spending bill by requiring a second vote in the House.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he supports a longer extension of the program but opposes attempts to force employers to use it.

Although the program is not mandatory nationwide, it’s use is growing at a hurried pace, according to a story in The Boston Globe.

E-Verify, the paper said, “is soaring in popularity across the country, growing by 1,000 companies a week, fueled by anxiety over workplace raids and uncertainty over the future of the nation’s illegal immigrants.”

Only Arizona and Mississippi have made the system mandatory so far. Ten more states require its use to check on employees of state agencies and contractors. “But the system is also ballooning in states where it is optional, such as California, Texas, and Massachusetts,” the Globe’s Maria Sacchetti wrote.

The system has been criticized by business and labor groups, as well as immigration and civil rights advocates. They say that its less-than-perfect performance so far can lead to mistakes in checking the work authorization status of employees and that it can lead to more hirings off the books.

“We have not taken the effort to go through and fix the errors in people’s files before we use this as an enforcement tool,” said Timothy Sparapani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Until we do, this system will be nothing more than a fanciful wish.”

[The San Francisco Chronicle]

The fact that E-Verify databases contain errors is not just a claim by interested parties: it is supported by official government reports, according to Media Matters. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has called for a review of the program.

On the other side, supporters say E-Verify is the way to go to ensure there is no incentive for undocumented immigrants to enter the U.S. illegally.

“It’s really doing a nice job,” Janice Kephart, national security policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Chronicle. “It’s a win for employers, a win for the country, a win for our government.”

But even boosters acknowledge the system is not ready for prime time. While it now processes about six million queries a year, it would need to process 63 million a year if it became mandatory.

9 comments

  1. Pingback: E-Verify to be Extended Until End of September | VivirLatino

  2. Sen.Harry Reid (D-NV) arch enemy of American workers, committed the ultimate sin today Reid and 49 Democrats blocked E-Verify in the Senate. Their traitorous actions shall be well remembered, when the grovel for re-election. They condemned hundreds of thousands in the construction industry, having to compete over jobs. Parasites are organisms that live of a host and that is what contractors will do, when they look for the cheapest labor they can find. Starting with the stimulus, then followed by the Omnibus spending plan this Senators blocked E-Verify.

    Akaka (D-HI) Inouye (D-HI),Begich (D-AK),Bennet (D-CO) Udall (D-CO),Bingaman (D-NM) Udall(D-NM),Boxer (D-CA) Feinstein (D-CA),Brown (D-OH),Burris (D-IL) Durbin (D-IL),Byrd (D-WV) Rockefeller (D-WV),Cantwell (D-WA) Murray,(D-WA),Cardin (D-MD) Mikulski (D-MD),Carper (D-DE) Kaufman (D-DE),Casey (D-PA),Conrad (D-ND) Dorgan (D-ND),Dodd (D-CT) Lieberman.

    Here’s more Senators who killed E-Verify Here’s more (ID-CT),Feingold (D-WI) Kohl (D-WI),Gillibrand (D-NY) Schumer (D-NY),Hagan (D-NC),Harkin (D-IA),Johnson (D-SD),Kerry (D-MA),Landrieu (D-LA),Shaheen (D-NH),Leahy (D-VT) Sanders (I-VT),Levin (D-MI) Stabenow (D-MI),Lincoln (D-AR) Pryor (D-AR),Menendez (D-NJ) Lautenberg (D-NJ),Merkley (D-OR) Wyden (D-OR),Nelson (D-FL),Reed (D-RI) Whitehouse (D-RI),Reid (D-NV) and Warner (D-VA).

    They sold the American Worker out for campaign money from corporate lobbyists and open border fanatics. In this miserable time of unemployment and uncertainty from the janitor, to the computer programmer you will be REMEMBERED. You will not escape your insult to the American worker, who depends on your honesty to vote on their behalf. You have now proved the dimensions of how far you will go, to keep the illegal alien invasion crossing our borders, overstaying their ship or plane visa. The corruption so deeply instilled in the Washington elite.

    The billions of tax dollars taken from every, man, woman and child, to support the welfare of illegal aliens. Like Pearl harbor we will not forget the traitors who swore to uphold their allegiance to THE PEOPLE.

  3. Pingback: News Analysis: Rift Between Obama and (Former) Supporters in Pro-Immigration Camp Out in the Open « Feet In 2 Worlds, Immigration News

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