During the 2012 election season I noticed many so-called conservatives supporting E-Verify. Specifically, these conservatives want the federal government to mandate that employers run all employees through the E-Verify system.
This is just another example of phony conservatives calling for big government regulation and control of our lives. For a great read see today’s Wall Street Journal article criticizing E-Verify. Here are some highlights:
E-Verify erects dangerous hurdles to employment for legal workers and degrades the privacy of working Americans. … almost 770,000 genuinely legal workers would lose their jobs due to lost documentation, failure to file an appeal in time, or employers who never inform them of the initial error ….
Implementing a nationwide E-Verify mandate would cost small businesses $2.6 billion each year, according to a June 2011 report at the Bloomberg Government website. The cost of screening a single new hire: $147. … implementing the system would cost Homeland Security $765 million over four years and would require the Social Security Administration to hire 700 new employees and spend $281 million over five years.
Worse, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that a national E-Verify mandate would deprive the government of $17.3 billion in tax revenues over 10 years. … Homeland Security’s 2009 report found that E-Verify failed to catch 54% of unauthorized workers.
In 2012 I met self-described conservative Mike Lameyer, who made E-Verify a central issue in his campaign. You can see it mentioned in an article about his primary in the Palm Beach Post. I asked Lameyer specifically about the costs and regulatory burden of the program and he brushed it off, claiming that there is no cost and it was not a burden on businesses – facts be damned.
At a more famous level, Mitt Romney supported E-Verify as does the up-and-coming Marco Rubio – see The Hill on E-Verify. Even the fake libertarian Gary Johnson supports E-Verify. The Johnson campaign website still calls for “workable employer verification systems.”
Fortunately there are a number of more genuine conservatives who oppose E-Verify, discussed in the above “The Hill” article and in this Reason blog post on immigration.
For more on the program’s dangerous flaws see the Immigration Policy Center’s resource page on E-Verify.