Reid Deliberately Omits E-Verify Protections from Bill
WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A $15 billion package of tax credits and exemptions for employers who create new jobs is expected to gain approval by the Senate this week. However, the bill, intended to help millions of unemployed American workers find jobs, includes no verification mechanism to ensure that newly created jobs will actually be filled by legal U.S. workers. Moreover, it does not prevent employers from claiming tax credits and exemptions if the workers they hire are illegal aliens, charges the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The legislation, authored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), does not require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure that the workers being hired are legally eligible to work in the United States. Under an executive order issued by President Bush and implemented by President Obama, all federal contractors are already required to use E-Verify and the same requirement could easily have be applied to employers claiming tax credits and exemptions. In 2009, Sen. Reid stripped an E-Verify requirement from the $787 billion stimulus package that had been approved by the House when the bill went before a conference committee.
"It is unconscionable that while some 25 million Americans are unemployed or relegated to part-time work, the Senate is refusing to include protections that would guarantee that newly-created jobs are filled by Americans who desperately need them," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "The failure to include E-Verify protections in the bill is not an oversight on the part of Sen. Reid. He has consistently blocked efforts to prevent employers who receive government contracts or tax benefits from hiring illegal aliens instead of legal U.S. workers."
Under the Senate legislation, employers who fill newly created jobs with illegal aliens or guest workers would be entitled to the same tax credits and exemptions as employers who hire out-of-work Americans. Even if the employer were subsequently prosecuted for employing illegal aliens, the employer could legitimately claim these tax benefits for hiring them.
Because Sen. Reid has barred any amendments from being considered when the bill goes to the Senate floor, it will be virtually impossible for members to add E-Verify protections for American workers. "The excuse being offered for not including E-Verify in the legislation and barring its inclusion in the final language is laughable," Stein said. "Opponents of inclusion of an E-Verify provision claim it is unnecessary because existing laws already bar employers from hiring illegal aliens. This claim ignores the fact that an estimated 8 million illegal aliens already hold jobs in the U.S.
"Unemployed Americans have a right to expect that they will be the beneficiaries of any jobs created as a result of this bill. American taxpayers who will be footing the bill for this and other legislation have a right to expect that their money will help put Americans back to work," Stein continued. "These expectations could be easily fulfilled by requiring the use of E-Verify and barring employers who do not hire legal U.S. workers from receiving tax benefits – something Reid and Senate Democrats are refusing to do."
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.