Wednesday, February 18, 2009

E-Verify Dropped from "Stimulus" Bill

Owing to lobbying efforts from an odd coalition of certain business and civil liberties groups, employers who receive federal funds under the so-called $787 billion "stimulus" legislation don't have to check if their workers are here legally:
Senate and House conferees removed a controversial provision from the economic stimulus package that would have required companies to verify the immigration status of their workers. The decision to strip the measure was hailed by pro-business and pro-immigrant groups, but left fuming those who advocate stricter enforcement of immigration laws...Conferees did not retain language in the House-passed version of the stimulus bill that would have required companies to use the so-called E-Verify system, an online tool that employers can use to check Homeland Security and Social Security databases to verify an employee is legally authorized to work in the country. The Senate's version of the stimulus bill did not include such a provision. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce led lobbying efforts to kill the provision, and was joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.
The Heritage Foundation suggests that the bill will provide $104 billion in funding for public works projects, and that "without specific mechanisms to ensure that workers are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants authorized to work, it is likely that 15 percent of these workers, or 300,000, would be illegal immigrants."

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