BLACKWELL: E-Verify — The Immigration Solution Congress Is Looking For

Ken Blackwell Former Ohio Secretary of State
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Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse over whether to fund the construction of a wall at our southern border, something made abundantly clear by the meeting between President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last week.

This stalemate is all the more reason policymakers should discuss immigration solutions that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can support—especially as power turns over in the House.

One bipartisan solution to our immigration dilemma is a compromise introduced to Congress earlier this year that would offset the lifetime work permits given to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and slow illegal immigration by eliminating both chain migration, the visa-lottery and mandate that businesses use a national E-Verify system so business only hire those legally eligible to work in the United States.

Limiting chain-migration policies, which now allow U.S. citizens and green-card holders to sponsor extended family members to spouses and minor, is an important step because it means returning our immigration policy to uniting the nuclear families of immigrants.

In other words, it recognizes the importance of maintaining a family foundation for new arrivals but also recognizes that—for the sake of protecting American workers, native and immigrant alike — it is important to draw a clear, common-sense line about who new immigrants can sponsor.

Similarly, reworking the visa lottery helps protect American workers. The visa lottery as it stands now raffles over 65,000 works worldwide and allows recipient dependents to relocate with the person awarded a green card, and these men and women later add to the marketplace competition that hurts blue-collar workers, legal immigrants included.

For its part, mandatory use of E-Verify would curb much of the economic lure or so-called “jobs magnet” that causes families to uproot from their home countries and enter the United States illegally.

E-Verify is a well-tested and widely-used system that allows employers to verify the work status on prospective employees online. This will help end the harmful cycle of lost wages for our blue-collar men and women, as U.S. employers will be forced to seek out legal, resident employees and put them on the payroll with better wages.

Laborers in middle America and elsewhere say illegal immigration affects them and their ability to make a decent wage, something a scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School has researched at length.

According to George J. Borjas, professor of economics and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, “When the supply of workers goes up, the price that firms have to pay to hire workers goes down.”

Professor Borjas says the “monetary loss is sizable” and estimates the lost wages among low-skilled American workers is somewhere in the billions.

“We don’t need to rely on complex statistical calculations to see the harm being done to some workers. Simply look at how employers have reacted,” he writes, pointing to the example of Crider, Inc. When immigration agents raided that chicken processing plant ten years ago, “75 percent of its workforce vanished over a single weekend. Shortly after, Crider placed an ad in the local newspaper announcing job openings at higher wages.”

Lawmakers have a lot of work ahead of them and instead of banging their heads against the wall debate, it would be prudent to implement common-sense immigration policies that give preference to the men and women who pay taxes and are actually from the very communities edging them out of the workforce or hurting their wages.

Ken Blackwell (@KenBlackwell) served as a domestic policy adviser to the Trump presidential transition team. He also served as Ohio state treasurer and secretary of state and is on the policy board of the nonprofit American Civil Rights Union.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.