Who’s Afraid of E-Verify? Opponents of a border fence (e.g. Rick Perry) say we shouldn’t build it because what’s needed is a program to turn off the “jobs magnet” that encourages illegal immigrants to try to cross the border in the first place. OK. It turns out there is at least one such program–it’s called E-Verify, and it checks the info supplied by job applicants against a national database of Social Security numbers, etc. , alerting employers if they are about to hire someone who seems to be in the country illegally. Needless to say, the same people who oppose a border fence also tend to oppose E-Verify (e.g. Rick Perry). They claim this is because of inaccuracies–both a small percentage of legal workers initially flagged as suspect and a higher number of-illegals the system doesn’t catch. The California legislature is about to send a bill preventing cities from requiring E-Verify to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk:
“I don’t see how mandating a system that is flawed would increase opportunities for people applying for jobs,” said Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, who sponsored the bill. “What prompted me to introduce this bill was the ineffectiveness of E-Verify. We need to get more people into work and create jobs; we don’t need another hindrance.”
Hmmm. Ask yourself: Suppose E-Verify had already been perfected–suppose it were 100% accurate, approving all legal workers but catching all illegal workers.** Would the groups–including Latino and business lobbies–now opposing it support it? No. Duh! They aren’t worried that E-Verify will be ineffective. They worry that it will be effective.
**–Or suppose it approved all legal workers but caught only 50% of illegal workers. Same result, I’d argue. Catching 50% isn’t too few for E-Verify’s opponents. It’s too many.