The Legal Workforce Act (A Debate)

June 18, 2011
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One of the central points of focus for the illegal immigration debate recently has been the use by employers of the federal government’s E-Verify system for checking the immigration status of potential or existing employees. Now Lamar Smith, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced a bill, H.R. 2164, which purports to mandate E-Verify use for all American employers.

The merits of this legislation are pretty obvious, and have been cited by immigration enforcement and reform groups like FAIR in support of Smith’s bill. Getting  corporations and businesses that have resisted the implementation of E-Verify for years to embrace a bill that compels employers to adopt it is an historic accomplishment. Forcing businesses to verify the eligibility of potential employees in the future is the precondition for stopping the influx of people coming here illegally in order to work in the United States.

However, the fact that the Chamber of Commerce is supporting this bill should set off alarm bells among anyone who’s concerned about immigration enforcement. This is the same organization that fought Arizona’s E-Verify law all the way to the Supreme Court. And as it turns out, one of the reasons the COC has decided to support this bill is because it preempts laws like the one in Arizona from being enacted in the future, as the outline of H.R. 2164 describes on Rep. Lamar Smith’s website. It also gives a wink and a nod to those agribusinesses employing illegal aliens right now, allowing those returning workers whose status hasn’t been verified to be exempt from the new law. These are just some of the reasons Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has spoken out against it, most eloquently in a New York Post op-ed.

Even so, the benefits of this legislation might outweigh the demerits if I believed it would actually be implemented as envisioned by Rep. Lamar Smith and Rep. Elton Gallegly. As Mark Krikorian describes in an extremely detailed article for National Review, the Legal Workforce Act would represent in some ways the most important jobs bill to come before Congress this year. In an economy mired in recession, opening up potentially thousands of jobs for American citizens and legal residents would be a welcome development. Yet I don’t think this admittedly flawed bill will remain in its current state, or be improved if and/or when it makes its way through the United States Senate, let alone a House-Senate conference committee. By the time corporate interests and advocates for illegal aliens are done lobbying Congress I doubt that the chief rationale for enacting this bill will remain intact.

You can analogize this to the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act, which in addition to granting amnesty to over 3 million illegal aliens also had several ostensibly tough enforcement provisions, including clauses that:

  • required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status
  • made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants.

Remarkably, neither of these were ever enforced by the federal government, and even though I would like to think that times have changed in this regard, I’m not optimistic. The only difference between this quasi-amnesty and Simpson-Mazzoli is that now states would be prevented from taking auxiliary measures to deter illegal aliens. Yes, there are some great provisions in this bill, but I think its supporters are investing too much faith in the federal government’s ability to live up to its word, which on the issue of immigration-like many others-it has failed to do repeatedly in the past.

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5 Responses to The Legal Workforce Act (A Debate)

  1. Brittanicus on June 18, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    THE YEAR OF THE PEOPLE’S PARTY. THE TEA PARTY!

    Its evident we need a PEOPLE’S PARTY to halt the corruption in Washington and halt the premeditated influence of the Special Interest lobbyists and open border Liberal Progressives.

    The only way that we will repair the immigration enforcement law, such as enacting a permanent E-Verify, Secure Communities is to become an activist in the TEA PARTY? Yesterday Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota Chairman of the TEA PARTY has now presented herself as a Presidential contender. Outside of the majority of the runners, Bachmann is a solid moderate Conservative who will adamantly battle business influence, all religious do-gooders, open border advocacy groups and the Obama government. Bachman has promised that growing national trend towards tens of millions of average Americans joining the TEA PARTY will have a voice.

    No longer will this nation be dictated to by the US Chamber of Commerce or the Communist inspired ACLU. This is not just white senior citizens coming to the ranks of this new national political party, as furtively hinted by the radical Liberal Progressives, but Hispanics, Asians, and legal ethnic people who see the illegal alien invasion, as stealing low paying jobs, raising taxes to pay for the free education of these children and the millions of illegal people’s using our health care. Even having a baby in this country is free, (NOT AVAILABLE TO LEGAL POPULATION) if you can slip past our border fence; this is a joke on all of us, because thousands of miles still remain unprotected? Another interesting Republican I listened to on C-Span this morning, was presidential candidate Buddy Roemer. He has been both a Congressman and Governor and in his speech in New Orleans today, he sounds like a TEA PARTIER? He substantiated the corruption that festers in Washington, that draws the Special interests and their lobbyists like blood-sucking leeches who have written our tax system, to favor them.

    The giant corporations give billions of dollars in campaign contributions to alter the course of our laws to favor them. Huge dollar figures paid to both parties, which in return get illicit government contracts and the return huge subsidies to giant agricultural companies, drug companies insurance and others. Our multi-billion jobs go overseas as well as companies, and the only way to halt this rot, is to vote for TEA PARTY leaders. There will be no compromise with the suffocating dollars of big business that is killing America’s jobs, bringing in cheap labor legally and stealing employment from our own people. Something that must be dealt with immediately is FREE TRADE, that isn’t Free Trade as Buddy Roemer says; we are being taken advantage of? As I have mentioned before? We are the largest consumer nation in the world, but we are being ripped off by Chinese currency engineering. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE EITHER LAUGHED AT OR TREATED WITH DISDAIN BY OTHER NATION, FOR THE CLOWNS WHO GOVERN US. We better start remaking America or we need to be on a suicide watch.

    We are sinking in a cesspool of greed and corruption and the only way out of our financial mess is a TEA PARTY President, Tea party oriented Senate and a Congress. Not the usual RINO’S, Liberal and Democrat rhetoric and propaganda. Personages like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona and State Senator Russell Pierce who are now being victimized for carry out their duties, to protect their legal residents. They truly were the inception of the American people’s revolt against the unparalleled costs of illegal immigration, as they fought back against this unfettered plague.

    HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE EXPECTED TO PAY FOR THE MILLIONS OF FOREIGNERS, WHO JUSTIFY ENTERING AMERICA ILLEGALLY? ARE THE PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO OUTLAY 2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS FOR ENACTING ANOTHER AMNESTY? (Read what the Heritage Foundation who calculated this incomprehensible dollar number.) FOR DECADES NOW WE HAVE BEEN BLED BY THE IRS TO PAY FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS? You have already seen the indifferent concern of the US government for decades ignoring this issue, which has been mounting daily. Illegal immigration has graduated to a far worse enigma, that was ever expected? It’s sickening that our country is turning into a balkanized society. How is it that hundreds of thousands of people, who legally arrived here, cannot comprehend the English language?

    Isn’t a person being inspected by an agent supposed to be expected to have some knowledge of our national language? It’s a daily, monthly yearly mantra that illegal immigration is allowing even more poverty to ruin the American citizens and legal resident’s life opportunities. Even as American population is suffering under this unceasing deluge of impoverished people, we are still forced to through our taxes to pander to them. Michelle Bachmann will relieve the desperate in our society, reinforcing the borders, tracking visa over-stays and reverse the illegal immigration occupation before it’s too late. Mandated E-Verify, Secure Communities and another federal enforcement program 287 G. The TEA PARTY is growing in structure and will have an immense influence in the 2012 election.

    Never the less, there are rumblings that illegal immigrants are intentionally voting in our elections. Blue States must be carefully watched, such as Sanctuary states as California and Nevada. There have already been serious forged voting incidents in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, New York and more. Organizations such as Acorn, supposedly dismantled are alive and well under different names and are a major criminal enterprise in fraudulent registrations. I think America is ready for a National ID card that would go a long way in stopping illegal aliens voting and also be yet another avenue to reduce corruption in welfare fraud. NumbersUSA covers all this immigration information and more? Judicial Watch is your window into the corruption and lies in Washington. To contact your Representative at federal level; Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121

  2. Maggie on June 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I’ve been watching the invasion of California and the destruction of our schools for over 30 years (as a former teacher). My website http://www.BillionAmericans.com has some facts that aren’t usually exposed – such as Senator Dianne Feinstein testifying before the Senate Judicial Committee in 1995 that California is “an immigration disaster” and the Earth Day Founder stating that it’s dumb to say you are for conservation, but not for less immigration.

  3. Chief_Cabioch on June 20, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    whem will those we Hire to do This Job start doing it ?, virtually every state and federal agency pawns off it’s duties and responsibilities to some one else, I am SICK and tired of those being PAID to oversee this and other issues passing the buck and the responsibilty to others, ….it is HIGH time we begin a complete removal of ALL agencies and a removal of ALL elected officials, and start over from Scratch, we have entrusted the Security of the Nation to a bunch of Lazy good for nothinggreedy politicians who have made things good for themselves and Horrible for the rest of US, they have destroyed our Currency, Destroyed our way of life shipped Jobs overseas because of high Taxes and stupid regulations and all we americans get are the BILLS, when are WE the People going to WAKE up, and take this matter SERIOUSLY, People we are running OUT of time, it is Clear as a Bell these elected officials cannot, and Willnot uphold our Laws, or our Constitution ….it’s time we remove them ALL.

  4. John Hill on September 22, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Do your points also aply to the new, revised bill, H.R. 2885?

  5. G. Perry on September 23, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    My objections still stand. As long as it’s going to encroach upon individual states and their right to enforce immigration law, a la SB 1070, it’s a bad bill. Notwithstanding some of the very legitimate points made by Numbers USA, I don’t believe that any bill is better than no bill in this case.

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