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E-Verify's 'Hang Everyone' Approach

Immigration reform proposals would make everyone an illegal until proven not to be.

By Laura W. Murphy and Fred L. Smith Jr. | The Wall Street Journal

If you hang everyone, the old saying goes, you will catch some guilty people. That adage points to the fatal flaw of an employment-verification program tucked into several recent immigration-reform proposals in Congress.

The E-Verify program—which several states are experimenting with, but which would become mandatory nationwide under proposed new law—targets every employee that a business hires, in the hope of weeding out a few undocumented immigrants from the workforce. In the process, E-Verify erects dangerous hurdles to employment for legal workers and degrades the privacy of working Americans.

Employers enrolled in E-Verify must submit electronic information about all employees to a government database. If an employee's information conflicts with the database, the individual cannot work until he corrects the error. Every potential employee is thus presumed to be ineligible to work until proven otherwise. So much for the presumption of innocence. Resolving E-Verify errors often requires a job seeker to visit the local Social Security Administration office. If you like waiting at the DMV, you will love E-Verify.

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Please stop copying the first parts of comments into subjects.

Yeah, I bet that's all this will be used for...immigration. Say something in protest online or in public? No work for you. Don't vote for the right person? No work for you. Owe some creditor money? No work for you. Unpaid tickets? No work for you. There is nothing wrong with open borders in a country that doesn't have government handouts.

Please come join my forum if you're not a trendy and agree with my points of view.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Not to be a spoiler, but here's the final paragraph

All Americans have a right to earn an honest living through hard work. Congress shouldn't create a huge new bureaucracy to stand in the way. Only one in 20 U.S. workers is undocumented, Pew Hispanic Research found in 2010, yet E-Verify would intrude into the lives of all Americans and their employers. Lawmakers should focus instead on the only proven way to address illegal immigration: an efficient and effective legal pathway for immigrants to enter and work in the U.S.

He's the man.