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Posts Tagged ‘E-Verify’

E-Verify Tabled in Omnibus Debate

In enforcement, legislation on March 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Last night, the Senate voted to table Senator Sessions amendment (attached to the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, S.Amdt. 604 to H.R. 1105) to extend the E-Verify program for six years with a vote of 50::47.

The E-Verify program, which I talked about extensively during debate of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (S. 1 and H.R. 1), is extremely problematic due to database errors, exorbitant costs, backlogs, and worker intimidation.

I was a bit disconcerted that the amendment was only tabled by a difference of 3 votes–seven democrats joined all the republicans in voting against the tabling motion–especially considering that if it had not been tabled, it likely could have derailed the entire Omnibus bill. I think this demonstrates that we still have a lot of work to do, as this is obviously not an issue divided strictly along party lines.

Despite the defeat of the Sessions amendment, the Omnibus still extends the E-Verify program until the end of FY2009.

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Last Week: In Our Community

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Immigration news and updates from Monday February 9th-Monday February 16th.

VIDEO: President Obama Talks About Immigration with Univision
This video shows Univision’s coverage from their interview with President Obama. The conversation discusses comprehensive immigration reform, legalization, and current enforcement practices like raids.

Political Economy of Immigration

This Border Lines blog post discusses the political economy of immigration as we enter into a new administration. In particular, the post distinguishes the politics of fear which have driven the immigration debate over the last few years from the realities of the current economy.

Bad Economy Forcing Immigrants to Reconsider U.S.
This CNN article discusses the effects the current economy is having on immigration and immigrants. With fewer jobs on the market, many immigrants are returning to their home countries; others are choosing to stick it out as their home countries have been hit even harder by the economic crisis.

Liberians Facing Mass Deportations from U.S.

On March 31st, thousands of Liberian refugees will face deportation as their Temporary Protected Status visa–which has provided many of these people with protected status in the United States for over 18 years–expires. Communities where there is a large Liberian population are questioning what will happen to their communities? To their businesses? And to the American-born children and family members that are left behind? Many Liberians fear going back to a country which drove them away in a bloody civil war and currently still faces mass unemployment.

NPR: Immigration Crackdown Overwhelms Judge

This NPR piece discusses the effects the current immigration crackdown has on the judicial system. Discussing issues from court backlogs, lack of testimony, and denied access to legal counsel, one immigration judge is quoted as saying, “For some people, these [sentences] are equivalent to death penalty cases, and we are conducting these cases in a traffic court setting.”

Feds Return for Immigration Raid
This article discusses the arrest of Julia Morales, a local pentecostal pastor in New Haven-New York, who has lived in the U.S. for a quarter of a century. A leader in the community and a person without so much as a traffic ticket on her record, the community is fuming over her arrest.

Jailed Immigrants Buoy Budgets

This article discusses what among immigration advocates is known as the “migrant military complex;” that is to say, the industry developed around the detention of migrants. As this article discusses, both public and private facilities “aggressively try to market” themselves in order to get immigrant detainees in their facilities due to the price ICE pays per day per detainee. Meanwhile, there is increasing concern about the standards of immigrant detention.

AP: Immigrant Raids Often Mark Start of Years in Limbo

This Associated Press article discusses the years of hardship that is often sparked due to immigration raids. Backlogs in the courts, as well as no legal “speedy trial” requirements as exist in criminal courts, mean that immigrants often wait years to learn the status of their immigration cases. During this time, many are held in detention, but others who continue to live in their community are not lawfully able to work. This has placed a huge burden on communities, especially churches which provide services to immigrants and their families.

Use of Federal Database for ID Checks Hits Some Bumps

This USA Today article discusses a few of the many problems caused by E-Verify, including database discrepancies, employer discrimination, lack of transparency, and its inability to address identity fraud.

E-Verify Is Out!

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2009 at 9:12 pm

As I posted last week, immigration and labor advocates have been working nonstop to track the stimulus package in the House, Senate, and Conference to make sure that participation in the E-Verify/Basic Pilot program is not made mandatory for people receiving stimulus funds.

Our work paid off!

The conference report released this morning confirmed that we managed to keep E-Verify out of the stimulus package. Page 135 of the report reads:

“The conference agreement does not include the following provisions proposed by the House: requirements for timely award of grants, use it or lose it requirements for grantees; set-asides for management and oversight; as these issues have been addressed, in certain circumstances, within the appropriate appropriating paragraphs. In addition, the conference agreement does not include the following provision proposed by the House: requirements regarding funding for the State of Illinois; and requirements for participation in E-Verify.”

Good work friends! And if our victories over SCHIP and the E-Verify say something about the future of immigration policy, things are looking good!

The Economic Stimulus: Boosting Our Economy or Hurting Workers?

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

As I write, advocates across DC are glued to CSPAN-2 watching the Senate debate over the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Why?

Because we’re waiting to see if an amendment offered by Senator Sessions that requires all recipients of stimulus funds to use the E-Verify/Basic Pilot Program will be voted upon today.

You may wonder why we’re so concerned. Worker authorization and oversight makes sense when we’re talking about a package that will pump over $800 billion into our economy, right?

Unfortunately, in this case, it’s wrong. The E-Verify/Basic Pilot Program is known for being extremely flawed, as has been documented by three different House committees in five separate hearings.

The E-Verify program works by having employers enter the information of a recent hire into a an automated system where the social security number of the new employee is checked against the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database. The SSA then confirms whether the social security number matches or not.

However, the Social Security Administration has admitted that 17.8 million of its records contain errors or discrepancies related to name, date of birth, and citizenship status, with 12. 7 million of those errors pertaining to US citizens. That means that a HUGE number of workers will be wrongfully non-confirmed as having authorized work status.

And the amendment offered by Senator Sessions represents a MASSIVE expansion of the program, expansion by over 75%. It would require any entity–public or private–that receives stimulus funds to use the program. That means schools, hospitals, churches, social service organizations, transportation agencies, farms, and small businesses, many of which do not currently have the E-Verify/Basic Pilot Program.

So not only would it make more difficult for workers to get jobs, it would also delay the implementation of the stimulus as we waited for all of the entities receiving stimulus funds to both get and undergo training for the E-Verify program. It would also cost an additional $10 billion to implement it nation wide and in general increase the cost of doing business. And those negative effects don’t even include the increased potential of employer abuse created by the program.

Overall, at a time when our economy needs a boost, we should not be trying to make flawed programs that hurt workers and business a mandatory part of our recovery package.

Want to learn more about FCNL’s analysis of the recovery package? Click here.