Immigration

Remember: Harsh Immigration Regulations Make American Lives Miserable, Too

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E-nough already.

Remember that awful federal government shutdown last year? From a libertarian perspective, having the federal government shut down doesn't inherently sound like a bad thing. But, believe it or not, the federal government shutdown made life miserable for people looking for jobs in the private sector.

That's because the government shutdown also rendered the E-Verify service unusable. E-Verify is the system by which employers check the citizenship status for potential employees. Federal law requires employers to verify their citizens can legally work in the United States. Some states have laws requiring some employers to use E-Verify for this process. When the government shut down, this left many employers skittish about hiring new employees, even though the federal government said it wouldn't hold anybody responsible for not using E-Verify during the closure, as long as they filled out the right paperwork.

I highlighted this issue during the government shutdown as one of the unfortunate consequences of becoming a society where we had to ask the government permission to live our lives and engage in commerce. Last year, Peter Suderman reminded us all that even when it isn't shut down, E-Verify is far from a perfect system that has falsely told people they couldn't legally work in the United States. This ends up costing businesses and American citizens significant amounts of time and money. Keep this in mind whenever anybody proposes more regulations or laws trying to "fix" illegal immigration. The unintended consequences will fall upon citizens as well.

Below, Reason TV interviewed Chris Calabrese with the American Civil Liberties Union about problems with E-Verify: