The U.S. Senate is stalling on a vote to reauthorize E-Verify, an electronic database used to verify the legal status of U.S. workers. The program, which is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, is scheduled to expire on Nov. 30.
Since E-Verify went into effect, more than have 84,000 employers nationwide have voluntarily participated in the program, with almost 6 million queries run through the system in 2008 alone. Seven states have legislation requiring the use of E-Verify, while another 14 states have laws in place recommending the use of the database program. Both Missouri and Florida have put in place laws that will go into effect in 2009.
The most recent bill in legislation pertaining to this issue, S 3257 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), went before the Congress in late September. Unlike previous attempts, this bill would not make E-Verify mandatory on all employers, yet, as does with HR 6633, would extend the program for another five years.
Yet the crux of the debate centers on the fact that some legislators, notably Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), are trying to tie into the bill provisions which would open the number of visas — reportedly 550,00 extra visas — into this country. In my opinion, Sen. Menendez’s demands are not in the best interest of our country, which is already reeling from high unemployment rates and job competition. I believe that those states that do not institute some form of legal verification are instead encouraging illegal aliens to work there, at the expense of U.S. citizens.
I agree with Sen. Sessions, who said in his remarks before Congress on this issue, “The most thing that needs to be passed — and it would be unthinkable were it not to pass — would be the extension of the E-Verify program.”
If you agree, contact your legislators. Let’s get this passed before it’s too late.
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