In this July 22, 2010 photo, Padro Garcia, a day laborer from Veracruz, Mexico, seated, waits for work with fellow illegal immigrant day laborers in Chandler, Ariz. Garcia crossed illegally into the United States in 2007 to work for money to start a business in Mexico and return to his family. Garcia stated that he will purposefully get arrested as a result of Arizona’s new immigration law, SB1070, and use deportation as his means for safe return to Mexico. As the days tick down until the law’s July 29 implementation, when state and local police will be charged with broad new authority in dealing with illegal immigrants, the state stands defiant and alone. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Remember when President Donald Trump argued for the implementation of mandatory E-Verify for all U.S. businesses? Well, it appears he may have changed his mind on the matter. The administration’s recent budget proposal reveals a withdrawal from its previous stance on the program.
Mandatory use of E-Verify is conspicuously absent from the latest budget proposal, according to The Washington Times. Language in the past two budgets included a call for “mandatory nationwide use” of the program, which is widely seen as a tool that could bring about a significant decrease in the number of illegal immigrants entering the country. The most current document expresses milquetoast support for the current voluntary nature of the program and says nothing about making it a federal requirement.
The Times reported that the 600-page immigration proposal, crafted by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, would “shift American immigration to a more business-friendly system,” one that “does not include mandatory E-Verify.”
Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told The Washington Times that the absence of mandatory E-Verify in the latest budget constitutes “a takeover of the president’s immigration agenda by the special interests who benefit from illegal immigration.”
E-Verify is a program implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that helps employers ensure that they are only hiring individuals who are authorized to work in the U.S. It verifies each applicant’s legal status and filters out those who appear to have entered the country in violation of immigration laws. Some states currently require employers to use the program, but it has not been made a requirement at the federal level.
When President Trump first took office in 2017, he touted mandatory E-Verify as one of his top priorities. Both Republicans and Democrats have opposed the measure for different reasons. The open-borders crowd in the Democratic Party wish to import as many immigrants — legal or otherwise — into the United States as possible. They claim that compassion motivates their opposition to enforcing immigration laws — but the more likely reason is the fact that more immigrants could give the party an electoral advantage.
On the other hand, people on the right who oppose programs that make it more difficult for individuals to enter the country illegally are trying to protect businesses who rely on them for cheap labor. The agriculture industry, in particular, has fought fiercely against measures that would curtail illegal immigration, arguing that it would hurt the many companies who hire illegal aliens.
So why the about-face on the part of the Trump administration? The President has done much to prevent migrants from crossing the border illegally. He is still pushing for the construction of a wall at the southern border to impede the efforts of illegals to gain entry.
But a physical barrier does not address the overall problem as at least half of the illegals residing in the U.S. came into the country legally and remained after their visas expired. So far, it does not appear that the Trump administration is taking action against people overstaying their visas, and giving in to the open borders crowd on E-Verify indicates that they have all but given up.
The White House has not yet provided an explanation for their apparent surrender on mandatory E-Verify. But the fact that the President appears to be breaking his promise on implementing the program nationwide is disturbing. Yes, we must stop people from crossing the border in violation of U.S. law. It is also true that forces on both sides of the political divide are trying to make it easier for illegals to take jobs from Americans. But neither of these realities is an excuse for giving up.
E-Verify, despite its flaws, is an effective deterrent. If companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants were to face harsh penalties that could threaten their existence, they would be less likely to break immigration laws. Most of the people who come to the U.S. illegally do so because they wish to find work. If they know that they will not be successful in obtaining employment, many won’t even bother to make the journey.
Removing the incentive for illegally immigrating to the U.S. would present a potent deterrent and would be a viable tactic when it comes to protecting American jobs, which is why open borders advocates are so vociferous in their opposition to making the program mandatory nationwide. If the President truly wishes to curb illegal immigration, he can’t focus solely on the border; the problem requires a holistic solution, not just an approach that addresses only half of those breaking our immigration laws.
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