If Trump Wants to Help Working Americans, E-Verify is his Answer

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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.

November 11, 2016

If President Donald Trump wants to get his administration off to a flying start, he should make good on his promise to restore American jobs. In June 2015, when he announced his presidential candidacy, Trump said: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I tell you that.”

Then, after the election results confirmed Trump’s victory, he reaffirmed his promise: “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re gonna rebuild our infrastructure which will become, by the way, second to none and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”

Mandatory E-Verify is cheaper, less controversial than a wall.

Trump’s Republican-controlled Congress can help by re-introducing E-Verify legislation which, although the House Judiciary Committee has approved it in the Obama administration and again in previous ones, has languished since 1996 when it was known as Basic Pilot Program. Speaker Paul Ryan, following in the footsteps of his predecessor John Boehner, refuses to bring E-Verify to the House floor for a full vote.

A brief history: E-Verify provides instant work authorization by comparing employee information taken from an I-9 form, the paper-based employee eligibility verification form used for all new hires, against more than 455 million records in the Social Security Administration’s database and more than 80 million records in the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration databases. If the information matches, that employee is work-eligible in the United States, but if there’s a mismatch, E-Verify advises the employer, and the employee will be allowed to work while he resolves the problem.

In fiscal year 2015, administrators processed nearly 31 million E-Verify cases with the following results: 98.87 percent of employees were automatically confirmed as work authorized, either instantly or within 24 hours, and required no further action, 1.13 percent of employees received a first mismatch advisory of which 0.18 percent were later confirmed as work authorized after the employee contested the original findings and resolved the error. The remaining 0.96 percent that are found not work authorized included 0.62 percent of employees who do not petition for further review, an indication that they are likely illegal immigrants.

Mandatory E-Verify would help ensure that only American citizens and legal immigrants get jobs in today’s shrinking economy. A 2015 Pew Research Center report found that 8.1 million illegal aliens work in the U.S., including at construction jobs that once paid Americans a decent blue collar wage.

Assuming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are sincere in their pledges to work with Trump, the president-elect could get his administration off to the rarest of starts – delivering on a campaign promise designed to help Americans.

During the Trump administration, American jobs and E-Verify will be front and center. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your congressional representative, most of whom have been re-elected, that protecting working Americans is a top Trump priority, and a full vote on E-Verify is essential to that goal.

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