Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security held a hearing entitled “How E-Verify Works and How It Benefits American Employers and Workers.” In opening remarks, full Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) highlighted the importance of a functional workplace enforcement tool. “E-Verify is not the entire solution, but it is a critical part of the enforcement solution, making it easier for employers to be able to know whether the person presenting their credentials to them for a job are indeed the person they say they are and have the authorization that they claim to have,” declared Goodlatte. (Bloomberg Government Transcript, Feb. 27, 2013)
Soraya Correa, an Associate Director from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, testified to the impressive accuracy of E-Verify. According to an independent evaluation of E-Verify, the program has a 99.7 percent accuracy rate for authorized employees. (Id.) The study also found that 94 percent of final non-confirmations were accurately issued for unauthorized workers.
Immigration enforcement champion Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) noted that E-Verify is one of the government’s most successful programs. “E-Verify immediately confirms 99.7 percent of work-eligible work employees. I don’t know of any government agency that has that kind of efficiency, and quite frankly, that’s probably as close to perfection as we’re going to get on this human earth.” (Id.) Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) added, “we had a hearing this morning in the very same room on drones, and they don’t have a 100 percent get-it-right rate…. I just think that’s pretty doggone good.” (Id.)
Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce embraced the benefits of E-Verify despite its previous criticism. “After a lot of analysis, we concluded that the Chamber should support a mandatory E-Verify system,” testified Randel Johnson, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits. (Id.) “I just want to note that we do support, unlike the president’s bill, the application of E-Verify to the entire workforce. His leaked bill, in fact, exempted something like 60 percent of all employers,” Johnson pointed out. (Id.)
The hearing also illustrated that E-Verify is not cost-prohibitive, as charged by many businesses and pro-amnesty groups. “In regard to the costs, I wanted to point out that another study reveals that three quarters of the employers stated that the cost of using E-Verify was zero,” noted Smith. (Id.) “All I can say is our economist has looked at the studies [claiming $2.6 billion in compliance costs, and] believes those studies have overestimated the impact….” added Johnson (Id.)
E-Verify also received near unanimous approval by users. According to Correa, “E-Verify received a customer satisfaction score of 86 out of 100” and “the vast majority of users surveyed were likely to recommend E-Verify to other employers, were confident in its accuracy and were likely to continue using the system.” (Id.; see FAIR Legislative Update, Feb. 25, 2013) Chris Gamvroulas, President of Ivory Development, lauded the program. E-Verify “has been proven to be easy to use, protects employees’ privacy and rights, and we generally find it to be an efficient and effective system,” stated Gamvroulas. (Id.) “We believe that E-Verify is working as intended.” (Bloomberg Government Transcript, Feb. 27, 2013) Representative Smith, noting the ease of passing E-Verify funding extensions through both Houses of Congress, added “it has overwhelming congressional support.” (Id.)
The hearing marked the latest example of how amnesty advocates resist any enforcement mechanisms. Despite testimony of the extraordinarily high accuracy rate, pro-amnesty Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) claimed, “I am concerned about the error rate.” (Id.) Emily Tulli, an attorney for the pro-amnesty National Immigration Law Center (NILC), expressed “grave concerns” about E-Verify and claimed the program “makes all workers, citizens and immigrants alike, more vulnerable in the workplace.” (Id.) Audaciously, Tulli completely dismissed enforcement stating “the best enforcement measure is actually a broad and robust legalization plan.” (Id.)
Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) challenged Tulli’s testimony. “I’m having a hard time with your testimony” because “all you’re throwing out is reasons why we shouldn’t have E-Verify, reasons why we have a problem with E-Verify.” (Id.) “And I think that if advocates for immigration reform keep coming here and having problems with the enforcement mechanisms that we need to have in order to have a viable immigration system, I think you’re going to spoil any chance that we have right now to have comprehensive immigration reform,” Labrador concluded. (Id.)