WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2013 — This week, an ideologically diverse coalition of 44 organizations led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, National Small Business Association, American Civil Liberties Union, and Service Employees International Union called on the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of a bipartisan amendment proposed by Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to the E-Verify portion of the Senate immigration bill (S.744) that would require the government to meet a specific accuracy standard for the system.
The coalition, representing thousands of businesses and millions of Americans, sent a letter to the Senate that explained how the system’s errors may initially deny authorization to hundreds of thousands of legal workers and require them and their employers to spend time and money correcting mistakes. “Basic accountability can protect both workers and employers,” the letter states. “We propose Congress require that E-Verify’s error rate remain at or below its current level before small businesses are forced to comply with the mandate.”
CEI Immigration Policy Analyst David Bier explained that this is exactly what the Franken-Lee Amendment would do. “This amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) keep errors below the current rate for the next nine years before mandating the system for the smallest businesses,” Bier said. “After this initial period, penalties would be reduced for these employers in any year that DHS failed to meet this accuracy standard.”
Bier argued that this amendment is important for the bill’s final passage. “This proposal has received such broad ideological support because it is common sense that we should not impose an experimental system on every U.S. employee without safeguards to protect them,” he said. “It is time that Senators embraced accountability and voted in favor of the Franken-Lee Amendment.”