The federal E-Verify program is a free, easy to use on-line system that provides US employers with a way to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires. It has the potential to end the illicit US jobs magnet, making it the America's best hope for solving the problem of illegal immigration.
E-Verify is also popular. More than 70 thousand employers already use the voluntary program, and another thousand are signing up every week. [Statement for the Record: E-Verify, USCIS.gov]
E-Verify is quick and easy to use. Participating employers simply go online and compare the information new hires have entered on their I-9 forms with hundreds of millions of records in federal databases. "Results are returned within seconds." [E-Verify Program Highlights, USCIS.gov]
E-Verify is accurate and unobtrusive. Nearly one hundred percent (99.5%) of new hires who are not illegal aliens are verified instantly.
E-Verify is fair. A new hire whose employment eligibility cannot be instantly verified is given ample opportunity to demonstrate eligibility.
E-Verify is effective. Among those new hires receiving a tentative non-confirmation, only half of those who even bother to contest that result are ultimately found to be authorized to work in the United States.
In other words, E-Verify is a success.
At long last, after decades of watching the federal government pursue immigration policies indifferent at best to the well-being and democratic will of the voters, there is one program in all of our broken immigration system—one free, fast, easy, popular, accurate, unobtrusive, fair, and effective program—working to bring immigration policy into line with the wishes of the American people.
But Americans better take heart while the taking's good. The program's continued existence is anything but assured. The biggest effort so far by the current Congress to fix our broken immigration system has been—an effort to kill the E-Verify program, the one part of the immigration system that manifestly isn't broken.
Hard to believe? Not when one considers the influence in Washington of some of the program's enemies.
There is, needless to say, the US Chamber of Commerce, which, as a spokesperson for the DHS put it, "has made its position abundantly clear on E-Verify and their desire to support businesses that want to hire illegal immigrants." [The Administration's Latest Critic: The Chamber of Commerce, Jake Bernstein, ProPublica.org, August 13, 2008]
But it is the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] that has established itself as the leading menace to E-Verify, which it describes as "poison, not medicine for our immigration ills." [ACLU Rebukes House for Passing Problematic E-Verify System]
What interest, one might ask, could the ACLU, which likes to bill itself as a civil rights organization, possibly have in torpedoing a program that helps employers ensure they are complying with federal law?
Since civil rights, as opposed to, say, natural rights, are legal rights granted by the civil authority, one would think a "civil rights" organization would be working to expand E-Verify and the lawfulness it ensures—not working to sabotage it, as the ACLU is.
It indeed says something about the enormous fraud that the ACLU has become—about the credulity, or worse, of the people who fund it—that this "civil liberties organization" is embarked on a campaign to kill a program meant to prevent employers from illegally using the misery in less developed countries to undercut the wages of American workers; a campaign, in other words, that helps the rich exploit the poor.
If this characterization seems hyperbolic, just read the ACLU's own position statement on immigration policy to see how radically out of step the organization's extremist position is with the American people on this issue:
Ohio ACLU Immigrant Rights—What's Happening Nationally
The problem today is our broken immigration system...the ACLU opposes any policies that include the following:
(In other words, the ACLU supports the continuation of the practice, for example, of issuing "deferred inspections" at the nation's international airports to persons immigration inspectors believe are not authorized to enter the United States. These deferred inspections are requests to return at a later date. They are so routinely ignored that they are known by immigration enforcement personnel as "run letters". In those extremely rare instances when a foreign national actually shows up for the hearing as requested, it is a remarked-upon event for inspectors.)
(In other words, the ACLU supports carving immigration law out of all the body of federal law and declaring it alone as somehow exempt from enforcement by the vast majority of the civil authority's law enforcement personnel.)
(As VDARE.com contributor Juan Mann devastatingly reported in 2002, the ACLU wants to maintain the status quo in the very broken asylum and refugee part of our broken immigration system.)
(There is no effort or proposal anywhere "removing constitutional due process protections and access to the courts for immigrants". If the ACLU is referring to illegal aliens in this bullet point, it shouldn't misleadingly characterize them as "immigrants".)
(Of course, mandating use of the E-Verify system doesn't require employers to act as "immigration agents" any more than mandating that new employees fill out a W-4 form requires employers to act as IRS "agents".)
The ACLU's dishonest, baseless, all-out attack on the E-Verify program reconfirms something I learned about the ACLU first hand.
In October 2000, ProjectUSA, an organization I founded to push for a realistic immigration policy, erected a billboard at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City reading "Immigration is doubling US population in our lifetimes." It pictured two children and cited the Census Bureau as its source.
The board lasted just thirteen days. According to an article in the New York Times, the owner of the property on which the billboard sat, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, ordered the board removed after "an authority employee noticed it and told his superiors". [Billboard Foes Yearn to Breathe Free Without Its Presence, By Tara Bahrampour, October 22, 2000]
It was the second time in a year that ProjectUSA was the victim of such government abuse of our First Amendment right of free speech.
One evening, when the ProjectUSA auto-da-fé was burning hottest, I received a phone call at home from Norm Siegel, [Email him] then director of the New York chapter of the ACLU. The action taken by authorities against ProjectUSA seemed a "classic case" of a violation of the constitutional right to free speech, said Mr. Siegel. He invited me to meet with a NYCLU staff attorney to discuss the ACLU's help in bringing a lawsuit.
I accepted the invitation. After the meeting I was told that while the case certainly seemed strong, the ACLU would have a hard time taking it because "there is a large and growing immigrants' rights faction within the organization."
Indeed, ProjectUSA heard nothing more from the ACLU after that initial meeting. Two subsequent requests for help were ignored. Finally, when I was quoted in a newspaper criticizing the ACLU for refusing to help, ProjectUSA received a document by mail from the "tireless defenders of the First Amendment" tersely informing us that, in the opinion of the ACLU, ProjectUSA had no legal case.
Consequently, ProjectUSA was forced to bring suit alone against the city and the Port Authority.
Just weeks before foreign nationals exploiting lax US immigration policies would slam two hijacked airplanes into the Port Authority's crown jewel, the World Trade Center, an article about the filing of the lawsuit appeared in the New York Times. In it Donna Lieberman, interim director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said that the organization had not been approached by me, but that it would consider supporting the case.
"We believe very strongly that the city does not have the authority to impose its viewpoint on the billboards," she said.[Immigration Critic's New Project: Billboard Lawsuit, New York Times, By Tara Bahrampour, July 22, 2001]
Either Ms. Lieberman lied to the New York Times or the New York Times lied to its readers.
From the same article: "[o]fficials of the city and the Port Authority said they did not believe that the suit had merit."
The officials and the ACLU were wrong. The suit did have merit. After being thus rebuffed by the ACLU on the grounds we had no case, we won a generous settlement from the Port Authority.
The reader may judge for herself what the ACLU's real agenda is. But there is no disputing the fact that those who buy the ACLU's "tireless defenders of the first amendment" rhetoric are being duped.
The ACLU is a public fraud. Its opposition, and the very intensity of it, to E-Verify tells us the program is a very good one.
E-Verify and the responsible employers who are already voluntarily using it deserve the enthusiastic support of all Americans.
A brand new project called e-VeriFILE (full disclosure: I'm the project's founder) is an attempt to fight back against the ACLU by providing Americans with a way to identify and support those civic-minded employers. Let's hope it succeeds.
[VDARE.COM note: Oddly neither the U.S. Chamber of Commerce nor the ACLU post email addresses, but you can contact them here and here.]
Craig Nelsen (email him) is founder of e-VeriFILE, a project of ProjectUSA