Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Immigration and E-Verify

A recent article in Businesweek, A Verification System for New Hires Backfires makes clear just how complex the immigration issue is.

The story of one flower grower's attempt to utilize E-Verify, the national registration system that allows an employer to check on worker's eligibility (after they are hired) has made it very difficult to staff his green houses, particularly during the spring growing season. Even accounting for some hyperbole his quote is fairly chilling: "Those who want to work fail to pass E-Verify, and those that pass fail to work."

The system, now utilized by about 5% of America's employers according to the article, would be mandatory if a bill, H.R. 2885 introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (actually my congressman) were to become law. If you want to check out the E-Verify website for yourself, go here.

The bill has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee, and is still pending in the House Education and the Workforce and Ways and Means. See here for Congressional action.

The stop in Ways and Means is not just an idle one, since according to a 2008 Congressional Budget report, a national mandate would cut federal tax revenue by more than 17 billion dollars (that's billion with a B).

Everyone knows that immigration is a major problem that actually needs a solution. And it seems to me to be area where the law of unintended consequences could be particularly relevant.

A hat tip to Kriss Dunn at [the hr capitalist] for his post, 99 Problems: E-Verify Ain't One ...


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