Last night a question I contributed on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform was posed to the candidates as part of the FOX/Google Republican debate in Orlando, Florida:

“Struggling U.S. workers continue to compete with millions of illegal aliens. Do you support legislation to require all employers to use E-Verify in order to ensure that the people they hire are legally authorized to work in the U.S.? And, will you impose penalties against employers who continue to hire illegal workers?”

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich used the opportunity to once again suggest we should outsource federal immigration enforcement and identification to “American Express, MasterCard or Visa,” rather than address the prospective positive impact E-Verify could have for American workers – or even clearly state whether he supported or opposed the program.

Political answers and “buzz” phrases are too often accepted during primary debate season. With more than 9 percent of American workers out of work, and millions more relegated to part-time employment, candidates should be held accountable for dancing around serious job creation issues.

It has been illegal to hire illegal aliens since 1986. Still, more than 7 million illegal aliens currently occupy jobs that rightfully belong to Americans and legal workers. The nationwide implementation of an employment verification system, along with penalties for businesses hiring illegal aliens, is critical to opening up jobs for Americans and finally ending the incentive for illegal aliens to come to the U.S.

Every presidential candidate, regardless of party affiliation, needs to acknowledge the impact of illegal immigration on American workers and enunciate clearly his or her position on E-Verify as an important tool for encouraging companies to hire and fairly compensate legal workers, while deterring illegal immigration.

FAIR will not stop asking Republicans and Democrats what they will do to stop illegal aliens from taking U.S. jobs.