An article in Politico on May 9 focused on the Gang of 8’s proposal to expand verification of employment identity documents. Opposition was noted among proponents of the legislation as well as opponents. Libertarians are concerned that the bill will create a national database of all workers, employers are concerned that the system would be unwieldy especially for small businesses, and advocates for effective reforms are concerned that the Gang of 8 bill bends over backwards to weaken the effectiveness of the system.

The concern about a national database of workers is absurd because that system already exists in the requirement for all workers to be registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). In fact, work eligibility verification relies on accessing the SSA database. The real concern with the bill should be that it discards the current E-Verify system in favor of some new, undefined system. The current system has been improved over the years since it was established under a 1996 legislative mandate. Opponents of the system – both employers who are potentially exposed as knowingly hiring illegal workers, and illegal alien defenders who don’t want job opportunities to be denied to their community – criticize it for having an “error” rate of one or two percent. But, what is termed an error is someone legally entitled to work who is initially not verified by the E-Verify check. Virtually all of these “errors” result from name changes at marriage or misspellings in the SSA database. They are not errors – they simply require correcting the database, which has to be done at some point before the worker can receive retirement benefits.

Rather than focusing on false issues of privacy or error rates, persons who want to see effective protection of jobs for legal workers should focus on the fact that S.744 is aiming to discard a working, effective system to be replaced with an undefined system that will be created by an administration that identifies with the defenders of illegal aliens.