An increasing number of conservatives including Republican legislators, Tea Party members and the governors of key boarder states are reacting to immigration legislation that would force employers to verify the legal status of employees they hire. The legislation would require employers to screen new hires through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security database, known as E-verify, in order to determine if the applicant is in the country legally.
Quite surprisingly, some of the most right-wing conservatives, who typically push for stricter immigration enforcement, have been critical of the measure, claiming that the bill would harm agriculture, affect civil liberties, and that it simply will not work as intended.
The Republican Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas sponsored the bill. He justified the legislation by saying that 23 million Americans are out of work while 7 million others work illegally. He believes that available jobs should be going only to U.S. citizens.
Presenting a third view, a representative from California maintains that the E-verify measure does not take into consideration the need for temporary foreign labor to work in the agriculture industry. He also believes that anyone who says the needs of domestic agriculture can be filled with American laborers does not understand the situation.
Conservative Tea Party groups have come out against the measure saying that it threatens the Constitution and the rights of law-abiding citizens. They believe the legislation will only serve to burden small businesses with additional cost and paperwork. They also say that the bill violates the right to work and creates a national I.D. system even for United States citizens.
It seems that everyone has a different opinion on the proposal. Some groups expressing opposition to the proposed E-verify bill say that it opens a floodgate of employment verification hurdles. Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry went on record saying that the bill will not make much of a change in what is currently happening. Additionally, several immigration rights groups are also opposed to the E-verify plan.
What are your views on the E-verify bill?
Source: The Hill, "Conservatives, Tea Party pan Republican-sponsored E-verify bill," Mike Lillis, Sept. 17, 2011.