Friday, February 13, 2009

E-Verify requirement stripped from stimulus package

A requirement that employers who get money federal stimulus money must first ue the federal E-Verify program to vet employees has been stripped from the final version of the $787 billion stimulus package. The move is a victory for those who called the E-Verify requirement unnecessary. Also cut from the final conference report was a provision to extend the E-Verify program beyond March 6, when it is set to expire.

The elimination of E-Verify from the stimulus bill is a major disappointment for those concerned about preventing illegal aliens from benefiting from stimulus programs. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), said dropping the verification requirement was a mistake, both from a policy and a political sense.

"As a policy matter, when you are spending hundreds of billions on job creation, it should be for Americans and legal immigrants, and not illegal aliens," he said.

According to the DHS's own estimates,about 96% of employees are authorized for work within 24 hours, while about 4% receive initial mismatches. Less than one-half of a percent of those mismatches are later confirmed to be authorized to work, meaning the system is generally reliable in spotting mismatches.

Sen. Jeff Sessions had attempted to add E-Verify back into the bill, citing studies that said several hundred thousand stimulus jobs will go to illegal aliens without the requirement. Sessions urged a floor vote, saying that E-Verify would more than likely pass a vote in the Senate.

“The purpose of the bill is to put Americans back to work. It is common sense to include a simple requirement that the people hired to fill stimulus-created jobs be lawful American residents,” Sessions said.

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