Tea Party Groups Warn Congressional Republicans Not to Mandate E-Verify


A coalition of Tea Partiers and conservatives, including Take Back Washington's Kathryn Serkes, Downsize DC's Jim Babka, Tea Party Nation's Judson Phillips, and Washington D.C. Tea Party founder Thomas Whitmore, sent a letter to congressional Republicans yesterday warning them not to pass the Legal Workforce Act, which would mandate that all U.S. employers use E-Verify. The group also took out a full-page ad in the D.C. trade pub POLITICO, according to the Huffington Post's Elise Foley

The letter says that E-Verify "[c]reates a de facto national I.D. System—even for citizens; violates individual civil liberties such as the right to work and free speech; mandates a costly job-killing regulatory burden that cripples small business; requires employers to become enforcement agents of the federal government; encourages identify theft of law-abiding citizens." All of which is true! 

The letter includes longer sections reinforcing the above points (also spot on), and concludes: "[E-Verify] violates the philosophy of the Constitution and intent of the Framers by subordinating the liberty of citizens to the administrative convenience of government.  And the Founding Fathers would have rebelled against such a staggering Federal intrusion into every workplace in the nation and our personal civil liberties."

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tx.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will be swayed by the letter. This is, after all, the same congressman who refused to grant a hearing for the marijuana prohibition repeal bill authored by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, and who tried to modify the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to give law enforcement groups more flexibility for wiretapping. Arguments based on civil liberties (and unintended consequences) aren't very persuasive with Smith. 

As for the claim–supported by mountains of data–that E-Verify would hurt small businesses, cripple the agricultural industry, and make several million legal workers ineligible for employment due to a roughly two percent glitch rate for the E-Verify program, Smith isn't moved by that either. 

"A few have claimed that a federal E-Verify requirement will cause job losses," Smith said during yesterday's hearing. "Yes, E-Verify is a jobs killer, but only for illegal workers."