E-Verify, an education

By D.A. King, Insider Advantage Georgia, March 10, 2011

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In expanding the regulation to require use of E-Verify to protect legal workers in the private sector, Georgia would catch up with four other states, Utah, Arizona, South Carolina and Mississippi.

Rep. Matt Ramsey’s HB 87 passed the Georgia House last week by a very large margin (113-56).

Now it is on to the Senate. Language in the bill that requires use of the no-cost, federal E-Verify system is the major complaint from its shrinking opposition.

In the House floor debate, the long line of Republicans from all over Georgia rising to speak in favor of the bill included the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Tom McCall. He reminded other members of the House of their oath of office to uphold the law and added that “this bill is the right thing to do.”

Ramsey proudly reports some important facts on the vote: “We got every single South Georgia Republican with the exception of one. Rep. Greg Morris, who represents Vidalia onion country, spoke on behalf of the bill saying, “I regret this bill is necessary, but it is!” Rep. Jay Roberts, a farmer and E-Verify user himself, spoke from the well in favor of the bill.

Ramsey beams when he reports that four Democrats voted for his well-thought-out enforcement legislation.

Because you won’t get it elsewhere, here’s an E-Verify education from pro-enforcement American:

Ramsey is not treading on new ground. Georgia has had an E-Verify law in place since 2006. All public employers and their contractors are already required to use the system. Thank you Sen. Chip Rogers and former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In expanding the regulation to require use of E-Verify to protect legal workers in the private sector, Georgia would catch up with four other states, Utah, Arizona, South Carolina and Mississippi.

It is interesting to note that the 1980s-era “I-9” paper system of collecting documents from employees does not require a Social Security Number. But E-Verify does. Therefore, with E-Verify use, all newly hired employees, including seasonal, temporary, and rehires must actually have a SSN. How draconian.

More than 243,000 employers representing more than 834,000 worksites currently use E-Verify and an average of 1,400 new employers enroll each week.

An employer who verifies work authorization under E-Verify has established a rebuttable presumption that it has not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien.

That can’t help the anti-enforcement argument…can it?

A list provided by the folks at E-Verify as of September 2010 shows that about 16,000 Georgia employers are already using E-Verify, all voluntarily except for the public employers and contractors under the existing state mandate.

Another more recent list from January of this year only includes businesses with five or more employees. There are more than 11,000 employers listed there ­ which tells us that about 5,000 very small businesses are also using E-Verify because they want to avoid hiring black-market labor.

Here is a short sampling of some Georgia businesses that are already using E-Verify voluntarily: Frito-Lay; Dunkin Donuts; Chick-fil-a; Baskin Robbins; PepsiCo Gatorade; Hispanic Golden Arches; Con Agra; Fieldale Farms; Pilgrim Pride Inc.; Gold Kist; Tyson Foods; Claxton Poultry;Tip Top Poultry; Vidalia Onion Farm; Turf Pride; Bland Farms, Glennville, Ga.; Tifton Turf Farms; The Dustin Inman Society.

Did I mention the automatic photo-matching E-Verify feature that is ever-expanding and improving? The photo-matching step occurs automatically when an employee presents a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) or an Employment Authorization Document (work visa) as documentation. This helps ensure that the documents provided are valid. Does this help or hurt E-Verify’s case?

As of Fiscal Year 2010, 98.3 percent of employees are automatically confirmed as authorized to work using E-Verify.

Of the 1.43% of employees not found to be work-authorized: 1.3 percent who receive initial mismatches do not contest the mismatch.

Some 0.01 percent of employees who receive initial mismatches contest the mismatch and are not found work-authorized.

Some 0.14 percent of employees with initial mismatches are unresolved because the employer closed the cases as “self-terminated.”

Most of the new employees who get a negative response simply walk off the job and apply down the road with an employer who is not using the effective system to save jobs.

I know what readers are likely thinking about here. “Does E-Verify work to confirm the farm workers who are looking for a better life when they come here legally under the H2A agricultural visa that has no limit or ceiling?” Yes, H2A visa workers fly through the E-Verify system.

A recent AP news item quotes Frank Funderburk, executive director of the Georgia Peach Council and part-time extension agent for Peach County, as saying that E-Verify will not affect the peach industry because they use the H-2A program. “Our growers can’t afford to not have a work crew,” Funderburk said. “They bit the bullet several years ago (and joined H-2A) and they jumped from paying $7 an hour to $9.”

We now have a good idea of the savings involved in using black market labor and the price of the rule of law.

President Obama is promoting use of the E-Verify system as “the right investment in building a viable tool to ensure a legal workforce in the United States.” Last week, no less than Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker acknowledged that illegal employment is the clear cause of most illegal immigration and that E-Verify use is the solution. Who knew?

One must wonder about the response from the few Republican senators who will vote against HB 87 because of the E-Verify section when it is pointed out that they are putting themselves to the left of Barack Obama and Cynthia Tucker.

You will read it here first.

D.A. King is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society and a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration. He is an uncompensated advocate for HB 87. (http://www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org)

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