A Human Resources Director Says E-Verify Works

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

June 27, 2011
A recent op-ed in The Tennessean took a series of cheap shots at E-Verify by calling it biased, unreliable and expensive to the businesses that may soon be required to use it. [E-Verify Unreliable, Biased, Costly to Business, by Elliot Ozment, The Tennessean, June 10, 2011] Not surprisingly, an immigration lawyer wrote the column which was full of outrageous observations including the suggestion that since Albert Einstein, Joseph Pulitzer, I. M. Pei and Irving Berlin were successful immigrants, America should opens its doors to millions of other immigrants. The author, Elliot Ozment, neglected to add that Einstein, Pulitzer, Pei and Berlin were all highly educated in their native countries when they arrived in America. Throughout his essay, Ozment repeatedly claimed that E-Verify is burdensome to business and that the Tennessee state representative who wanted to include the program in future legislation is a “xenophobe”. For immigration lawyers, E-Verify is bad news. The program discourages illegal immigration. And with fewer aliens in the country, that means fewer billable hours for immigration lawyers. At the end of the column, The Tennessean included reader comments. I found this one a tidy summary of how E-Verify really works: “Having used E-Verify as an HR Director, I can attest that I had three bad SSNs come back in over three years. One had been replaced because it had been lost and the other two were fraudulent numbers. I informed the two owners of the fraudulent cards that they could retain their jobs if they were able to provide additional information or a corrected card, and I never heard from either of them again. Before E-Verify was created, I had to pay for SS card checks. Believe me, it is a better system than this attorney claims it is.” In short, tentative letters of non-confirmation reflect either minor administrative errors that are easily corrected or that a new hire is not legally authorized to work in the United States. E-Verify does exactly what House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and its other supporters say it does: weed out illegal immigrant workers from the American jobs market.

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