The Corner

Thanks, Incoherent E-Verify Opponents, for Making My Case for Me

I’m sorry, but this bizarre op-ed from Saturday’s Washington Post doesn’t even make enough sense to sustain the criticism that Mark Krikorian makes against it. The authors decry the “catastrophic failure” of E-Verify, citing as authority a report that draws exactly the opposite conclusion; the report shows that the program catches half of all illegal job applicants and continues to improve. Then the authors apparently propose an alternative to E-Verify that, of course, will also be only partly effective and which will also require improvements. (Today on NRO, I take a look at E-Verify and at the broader question of economic incentives to immigration.)

The authors, Bruce Morrison and Paul Donnelly, don’t really explain what it is they are so zealously proposing, so I did some digging into the New Employee Verification Act (NEVA), which they advocate. According to this CRS summary, NEVA would create a new Secure Employment Eligibility Verification System (SEEVA), which would rely on private-sector entities to protect folks from identity theft and provide confirmation of employment eligibility.

If that acronym seems familiar, it’s because it’s derived from the Employment Eligibility Verification System (or EEVA), which is the technical name for E-Verify. And what the NEVA bill would do, hilariously enough, is require that employers use either EEVA (E-Verify) or SEEVA to determine employment eligibility.

Now, SEEVA may well be a good idea. Anything that increases the difficulty of finding employment for illegal immigrants — without creating an undue burden on businesses — is the right way to go, as I argue. But why Morrison and Donnelly would present a bill as an alternative to E-Verify when the bill extends and expands E-Verify, and why they would base their entire assessment of E-Verify on an official report that contradicts their conclusion, is just so baffling that I don’t know what to say. ”Thank you,” I guess.

As for Morrison and Donnelly’s insinuation about the evil political motives of the “restrictionists” who champion E-Verify, I’m jealous of Mark Krikorian, who apparently understands what they are talking about. I simply can’t make head or tail of their insinuation.

Mario Loyola — Mr. Loyola is a fellow at the National Security Institute of George Mason University School of Law and a former defense-policy adviser at the Pentagon and in the U.S. Senate.


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