E-Verify Bill Proposes Massive New Regulatory Mandate

Washington, D.C., September 21, 2011 — Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885) which mandates use of the electronic employment eligibility verification system known as E-Verify for all Americans. The law is now on its ways to the House Floor. According to CEI Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh, E-Verify is a fundamentally broken program that will hurt American workers and businessmen without stemming undocumented immigration.

“If the Legal Workforce Act actually becomes law, American workers and employers will be thrust into a bureaucratic nightmare that will slow economic growth,” said Nowrasteh. “Americans should not have to ask permission from the federal government to work.

“Besides being an affront to liberty, E-Verify is simply ineffective at stopping unauthorized workers from being hired. According to a major 2009 audit by research service Westat, E-Verify incorrectly approved 54% of unauthorized workers and 4.1% of the E-Verify system’s initial responses were inaccurate. Even worse, 0.7% of legal authorized workers were falsely flagged an unauthorized to work according to E-Verify. That is unacceptable.”

Mandatory E-Verify has already been tried at the state level in Arizona – with dire consequences. Employers there are hiring off the books in record numbers and job growth lags behind the rest of the nation partly because of E-Verify’s regulatory tax.

“E-Verify is a regulatory predator in search of economic prey. If mandated throughout the United States, E-Verify will attack the economy where it is weakest,” said Nowrasteh. “American workers and small businessmen cannot afford to be bled dry by E-Verify.”