Earlier this week, Presidental hopeful, Mitt Romney, spoke at a town hall meeting in Iowa that he supports an expansion of the controversial E-Verify program for employment. Currently, the program checks the legal status of new employees, but Romney would push it further.
Mitt Romney backed a national ID system and government pre-approval of all new hires in the country. It’s a stunning amount of power he wants the federal government to have.
You’ve got to crack down on employers that hire people that are illegal, and that means you have to have a system that identifies who’s here legally, with a biometric card that has: this is the person, they’re allowed to work here. You say to an employer, you look at that card, you swipe it in your computer, you type in the number, it instantly tells you whether they’re legal or not.
The E-Verify system is a biometric identification system that is a direct response from Congress as a part of immigration reform. Despite the fact that the government continually tells us that an E-Verify or national ID system would solve our illegal immigration problem, it will never work.
A mandatory national EEV system would have substantial costs yet still fail to prevent illegal immigration. It would deny a sizable percentage of law-abiding American citizens the ability to work legally. Deemed ineligible by a database, millions each year would go pleading to the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration for the right to work. By increasing the value of committing identity fraud, EEV would cause that crime’s rates to rise.
Creating an accurate EEV system would require a national identification (ID) system, costing about $20 billion to create and hundreds of millions more per year to operate. Even if it were free, the country should reject a national ID system. It would cause law-abiding American citizens to lose more of their privacy as government records about them grew and were converted to untold new purposes. “Mission creep” all but guarantees that the federal government would use an EEV system to extend federal regulatory control over Americans’ lives even further.
The E-Verify system is inaccurate fifty-percent [pdf] of the time costing employees thousands of dollars in rectifying the situation. If implemented nationwide, it would cost small business owners billions in additional taxes.
Our immigration system is broken, but this is not the way to fix it. Immigrants, illegal or legal, play an extremely important part in American society. Removing them with a system that only works half the time not only hurts the immigrants and citizens caught up in the system, but every American who relies on the goods and services that they provide.