H.R. 2164: Another excuse to legislate instead of mitigate


Bring the whole family!

Bring the whole family!

What do politicians do when they fail to solve the most basic of problems such as the illegal immigrant problem? Why, they simply force the solution on business owners instead. The federal government as an agent for the states, has a number of limited enumerated powers (see the 10th Amendment). One of these is to protect our borders. But while Congress, the Senate, and the President are busy protecting the borders of Afghanistan and Iraq, and keeping 130 or so other countries “safe for democracy”; their solution to a US overrun with illegal immigrants is to place yet another government burden on business owners. The latest assault on business comes in the form of a bill, The Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2164).

In a nutshell, the bill a/k/a Mandatory E-Verify, requires business owners to submit the name and social security number of each new hire to a central federal government database where government bureaucrats get to decide whether your hire is here illegally or not. Of course the federal government never makes mistakes, right? If an employee turns up “illegal”, you the business owner is required to terminate immediately. It all sounds so rosy. Business owner logs into the government database, illegals are identified and unhired, our illegal immigration problem is solved.

According to Immigrationimpact.com, “With the current error rate of .8%, 8,000 of every million workers would receive an erroneous response from the government. But that’s probably underestimating the error rate. Places already using E-Verify have experienced much higher error rates. L.A. County, for example, audited its use of E-Verify and found that between 2.0% and 2.7% of E-Verify findings were erroneous. According to Tyler Moran, policy director at the National Immigration Law Center, this means that in a mandatory system, 3-4 million workers would have to fix their records. It would be as if all of the residents in Los Angeles had to visit a Social Security or DHS office to keep their jobs.

There are many horror stories about people trying to correct errors in government databases. It can take weeks, months, and even years to fix an error. In the meantime, what would you do if your records were incorrect and you were terminated? I suppose you could always emigrate to another country.

But going back to the beginning, isn’t it the federal government’s responsibility to protect our borders? Article 1. Section 8 of the US Constitution gives the job of defending US borders to the federal government: “The Congress shall … provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” We can readily see that they are derelict in that duty with some estimates of 20,000,000 illegals living in the US.

The President of the United States is required under the US Constitution to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.” (Article 2. Section 3)

Yet Congressman Lou Barletta reports on his website; “The Legal Workforce Act will be another federal law that goes unenforced. The federal government has been unwilling to aggressively enforce immigration laws in the workplace, and this law will be no exception. There is zero likelihood that the current administration will go after employers who fail to use E-Verify or who knowingly help their employees circumvent the system (which is very easy to do by using a U.S. citizen’s stolen name and Social Security number). In contrast, states like Arizona have been very effective in enforcing their own laws. In Arizona, dozens of worksite raids have occurred. That is why the number of illegal aliens in Arizona dropped 16 percent between 2008 and 2010 — more than double the national average (of 7 percent).”

If the law won’t even be enforced as predicted by elected officials such as Congressman Barletta, why bother? Here are some possible reasons:

  1. It gives the federal government another handcuff to place on American business and opens the door for further intrusions.
  2. The Legal Workforce Act gives a “workplace amnesty” claims Congressman Barletta; “ to virtually all of the illegal aliens who are already employed in the United States. Illegal aliens already working in the United States cannot be subjected to E-Verify unless they work for state or local governments (sec. (b)(3)(A), p. 26). The Legal Workforce Act is clearly designed to keep the current population of illegal aliens employed and working in the United States in the country, so they would still be here if amnesty is granted in the future.
  3. “Special Interest Groups want to take the immigration issue off the table in the 2012 elections. Knowing the huge popular support for these state laws, Special Interest Groups want to eliminate them, and at the same time (falsely) claim that the issue of illegal immigration in the workplace is now resolved. Illegal immigration is an issue that voters consistently rank in their Top 5 issues of importance, and it needs to be used, not buried, in the 2012 elections, claims Congressman Barletta.
  4. Democrat victories can be assured if the illegal immigrant issue is not resolved. And it’s likely H.R. 1264 won’t solve any problems but deliver yet another false promise from a government increasingly lacking in credibility.

The illegal immigrant problem can be fixed by:

  1. Enforcing existing federal laws. Tea Party Organizers report on policy at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), “Our officers are already under orders not to make arrests or even talk to foreign nationals in most cases unless another agency has already arrested them; you won’t find that written in any public ICE policy, alleges Chris Crane. With regard to the entire idea of prosecutorial discretion, Agents say they will have none. “Tell any ICE agent he or she will have the final say on making an arrest or holding someone in custody and they’ll tell you you’re crazy, officers will be ordered not to make arrests and failure to comply will result in the end of the agent or officer’s career, that’s business as usual at ICE.
  2. Complete the border fences on both borders, Mexican and Canadian. The US Government Accountability Office says, “Much of the United States’ 6,000 miles of international borders with Canada and Mexico remains vulnerable to illegal entry of aliens, criminals, and cargo.” PolitiFact.com reports, “Department of Homeland Security officials told us they have finished 649 out of 652 miles of fencing (99.5 percent), which includes 299 miles of vehicle barriers and 350 miles of pedestrian fence.” That means that just over 10% of our borders have some sort of security fence in place. And that’s if you can call this “security fence”. Much of it has been characterized as something “your grandmother could hop over”.
  3. Elect true Constitutionalists to office who understand the limits and enumerated powers of each level of government.

NumbersUSA, an advocacy group aimed at lowering illegal immigration reports 4 more co-sponsor the Mandatory E-Verify bill (H.R. 2164). The new sponsors are, Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), and our own Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.).

The bill is unconstitutional and delivers more power to an already out-of-control US federal government. It should be killed and a more responsible solution sought.

By Robert Heiney

The views of Robert Heiney are not necessarily representative of the views of the Constitution Party National HQ or the Constitution Party GA.

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