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Voluntary program run by the U.S. government to help certify that employees hired by companies are legally authorized to work in the U.S..

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A common sense approach that it opposed by all of the usual suspects.

  • Sep 16, 2009
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It it one of the stickiest political wickets of our time.  The issue at hand is E-Verify.   E-Verify  is an internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibilty of their newly hired employees.   E-Verify is widely regarded as  the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.  Right now the system is purely voluntary but there are calls from many quarters to make screening potential new hires with E- Verify mandatory.  Much to my surprise, even Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is endorsing this approach.  Napolitano supports a proposed federal regulation that would award federal contracts only to those employers who use E-Verify to check employee work authorization.  Sounds like a very reasonable idea to me.

So just how did we get here?   From where I sit you can lay the blame at the feet of politicians in both political parties for their selfish and totally inept handling of the immigration issue over the past two decades.  One of the primary responsibilities of any government is to secure the borders.  For their own selfish reasons both Democrats and Republicans have failed us miserably in this regard.  Democrats looked the other way because they envisioned a boatload of new Democratic voters that would give them a permanent majority in this country for decades to come.  Meanwhile,  the Republicans and their buddies in the Chamber of Commerce viewed the illegals as a vast source of cheap labor for their various enterprises.  As a result,  the rest of us are now left to deal with the fallout of the irresponsible actions of our leaders and there are no easy solutions.   It is estimated that there are currently 10-12 million illegal aliens in this country. 
To illustrate the predicament we find ourselves in let me discuss what is going on here in my home state of Rhode Island.  In this bluest of blue states we have a two-term Republican governor.  Don Carcieri is certainly not your typical Republican.  In 1981, Don made an unusual career move, taking his family to Kingston, Jamaica, where he headed the Catholic Relief Service's West Indies operation.  For two years he and his family lived in the community and wife Sue Carcieri taught science in the local school.  This is a decent man who certainly empathizes with the plight of disadvantaged people.  He has walked the walk.  However, as Governor of the State of Rhode Island he feels obligated to uphold the law of the land.  He takes his constitutional responsibilities very seriously.  Carcieri endorses E- Verify as the best means to ensure that only legal citizens will get whatever jobs are  available in his state.  His motives are honorable and very understandable.  Oddly enough, Governor Carcieri finds himself at loggerheads with another prominent political figure in the State of Rhode Island---Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin.

Bishop Tobin is certainly a very interesting figure.  He writes a weekly column in the local Catholic newspaper and is a frequent guest on local talk shows.  Bishop Tobin is an outspoken critic of mass immigration raids and opposes E-Verify on the grounds that the program is "burdensome and unreliable".  The Bishop bemoans the fact that we make it virtually impossible for undocumented immigrants to become "legal".   His stance on immigration has been somewhat controversial even here in "blue" Rhode Island but I certainly do understand where he is coming from.

So there you have it.  Two good and very well-intentioned leaders who find themselves on opposite sides of this issue.  This is a scenario that is playing itself out all over this nation.  But at the end of the day one has to choose sides in this debate. On this one I must reluctantly side with the Governor.   In my view the "rule of law" is the prevailing factor here.  I take no great joy in this as the church I attend is predominately Hispanic these days and I find my fellow parishioners to be mostly hardworking and patriotic Americans.  Previously I wrote a piece for Lunch entitled  "Sensible Immigration Reform".  You might want to check this out.  It is my firm belief that until we address the immigration problem head on we will be unable to resolve much of anything else in this country including Universal Health Care.   
Hispanic Workers 2 Governor Don Carcieri Hispanic workers photos Bishop Thomas Tobin

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May 11, 2010
E-Verify is one very useful tool to combat illegal immigration. We need this as one tool in a toolbox full of change. As you point out, neither major party wants real reform. In the meantime, we need a complete overhaul of our immigration policy. Secure borders (as you point out) along with holding employers responsible along with strict enforcement, deportation and an expedited work Visa process are all sorely needed! Great points. Also...I saw your Governor on a news program and thought he seemed like a down-to-Earth intelligent guy.
September 18, 2009
Enough of my native optimism remains that I suspect the practical intelligence of E-Verify will eventually be too much for what is largely politically correct opposition. However, there remains a huge coalition of well-intentioned (though wrong) Special Interests that will oppose this tooth and nail because it has the potential to keep the steady flow of illegals robust well through the 2010 Census - which will be critical to the further gerrymandering of Congressional Districts for the Democrats.
September 16, 2009
I usually tend to distrust anything associated with Homeland Security. The one thing that isn't covered is the cost to taxpayers. It says that it's free to use but, I doubt that any regular farmer will use it to hire workers for their farm. What kind of federal contracts would be awarded to those that use E-Verify? I also find it interesting that they are quickly running out of funds for retiring senior citizens in the Social Security Administration but, have all the time and resources in the world to implement E-Verify.

I believe that it could be a good way to verify legality of new hires, I just question its intent and practicality. What happens when the new hires' SSN ends up being fake? They'll get reported to the INS, further backing up an already defunct system. How will we pay for the onslaught of deportations? I don't think it'll help to discourage the 10-12 million illegals from finding work wherever they can which is what they've been doing while waiting upwards of 20 years to become legal. 

Thanks so much for such a thought-provoking and well-written review, Paul!
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. 

E-Verify is free and voluntary and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.


E-Verify Program Highlights

E-Verify is a free and simple to use Web-based system that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.

E-Verify is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) oversees the program.

E-Verify is a re-branding of its predecessor, the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program, which has been in existence since 1997. The Basic Pilot is being re-branded to highlight key enhancements in the program, including a new Photo Screening Tool that helps employers to detect forged or faked immigration documents.

E-Verify works by allowing participating employers to electronically compare employee information taken from the Form I-9 (the paper-based employment eligibility verification form used for all new hires) against more than 449 million records in SSA's database and more than 80 million records in DHS' immigration databases. Results are returned ...

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