As is often the case with immigration, Republicans and Democrats mixed and matched at a House hearing yesterday on E-Verify, the system that enables businesses to determine whether new hires are illegal aliens. Maybe the dumbest comment came from Rep. Sam Johnson (R., Texas): “An agency responsible for tracking terrorists and securing our borders should not be keeping tabs on when and where Americans work.” He might as well have said of the Department of Homeland Security that “An agency responsible for hurricane relief should not be keeping tabs on when and where Americans work,” or “An agency responsible for keeping out prohibited agricultural products should not be keeping tabs on when and where Americans work.” Since the point of the verification system is to prevent illegal aliens from getting jobs, and since immigration control is, for better or worse, part of DHS, then yes, it is the agency that should be responsible for E-Verify.
And Johnson’s real agenda is to push for his bill, H.R. 5515, which would start from scratch to build a whole new verification system — to replace the one that’s up and running after more than a decade of test-drives, and which is already verifying more than 10 percent of all new hires in the country. The goal of his bill, cooked up by the Society of Human Resource Professionals, is to postpone any widespread verification system — and thus preserve employers’ access to illegal workers — long enough for President McObama to get an amnesty through Congress, at which point the illegals will all keep their jobs.