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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

E Verify and a Travesty to the System, Part Two

by Lynn Atherton-Bloxham

In emails and during the Q&A in debates on immigration, the particular phrase, “illegal aliens are a travesty to the system,” seems to be a common sentiment. The distraught people claiming a travesty to the system seem to agree that current immigration, particularly from Mexico, Central, and South America, is an affront to law-abiding Americans. They are angry that “illegal aliens” are not “getting in line properly” and not “going through the proper channels of the system.” There seems to be agreement that these aliens should be punished, jailed or even better, rounded up and deported.

They feel the very presence of these “Law Breakers” creates disrespect for our system, and further, they are certain these illegal usurpers are to blame for most of our economic woes. The most active and outspoken anti-immigrant spokespeople and organizations base their concerns on population, cultural differences, and damage to the environment. They often call forth the older arguments of the geneticists and bemoan the fact that the greater percentage of white people to people of color is disappearing.

Most of the people who are disturbed about immigration agree that a first priority is to build a wall. An impervious wall that cannot be breached; neither climbed, tunneled under nor broken through. It could be a double wall, or electrified, certainly with some Hi Tech accoutrements and run continuously across the southern border. Where private property and geo-physical problems arise, even conservatives seem to be amendable to using eminent domain to acquire the necessary land. Terms such as swarms, invasions, and criminals, justify military troops stationed all long this wall. Most seem to agree that deportation of all possible illegal aliens already in the country is desirable even if some are not sure it is feasible.

Hardworking taxpayers point to many problems they believe are caused by immigrants. They have read repeated statistics that Latinos are all getting massive welfare, make up a large portion of the prison population, are deliberately breeding to produce anchor babies, are overrunning medical facilities, not paying their medical bills, and getting free education.

Those most intent on addressing the source of the problems of immigration, feel strongly that the key is stopping employers from hiring illegal employees. They argue that making the penalties for hiring illegal aliens much more punitive will deter employers from even thinking about hiring a questionable person. If the illegal immigrant is entering illegally for work opportunities, then the source of the problem is the availability of work. Many feel E Verify is a perfect solution.

National Identification numbers are not a new idea that began with September 11, 2001 nor is it really a response to illegal immigration. The kernel of the idea goes back to the early 1900's. In the beginning the various programs were fought by the Old Right, libertarians, free market proponents and civil libertarians. But no longer. Many on the right are now the most vocal proponents.

National I.D. did not come quite as the early opponents anticipated in one law, but rather incrementally. It was a number of years before the Social Security card dropped the disclaimer that it was not to be used for identification. Regardless, we now have a National I.D. Program. The Pilot Program was developed long ago but formally established in 1997 when the I-9 (employment eligibility verification form) was made mandatory. Since that time, it has only been a gradual process of adoption of “better” computerized methods to “deal with the onerous paperwork.” Who can possibly object to getting rid of paperwork?

In 1986 Congress passed the Immigration and Reform and Control Act (IRCA) which imposed sanctions on employers hiring illegals. Further, the 1996 Anti Terrorism Death Penalty Act gave greater powers to immigration control. Just since 1996 many more technological abilities now exist to easily monitor and check on every employee to be hired. The intent of the E Verify effort is to eventually carry every person's name in a national data base and access that name and data whenever any person applies for a job. The plans are for E Verify to be phased in over several years while additional data is gathered as it has always been the plan for all employers and employees to be covered.

Currently the I-9 is checked against an estimated 455,000 data entries on the Social Security Administration data base and 80,000 other government data sources. Additional data is being entered into E Verify on an ongoing basis. At the insistence of the anti-immigrant groups, it is a reality for all employees and employers. Though the use of the computerized E Verify is still voluntary (does not it always begin as voluntary?) in most states, more states are rapidly falling into line to make it mandatory.

The only slowdown, even if one approves of government qualifying and approving all employees, are the logistic problems. The official 8 percent error rate is disputed as actually being much higher. The resulting requirements for clearing up the many errors and problems is time consuming and expensive, not to mention the trauma to the employer needing an employee and employees desperate for jobs.

Already, E Verify is mandatory for any employer wishing to do business with the Federal government in any manner. Penalties already exist for employers who do not comply with I-9. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines have been levied though many are negligible paperwork infractions. Once the I-9 program was established, the administrative power was not lacking to not only levy monetary punishment but to also use imprisonment. That is now a reality.

If you have read the foregoing and believe immigrants pose the threats many feel they do and truly think they are the cause of all economic woes and if you believe the current drug problems are caused by immigrants then perhaps I cannot persuade you otherwise. I, on the other hand, think that not just E Verify, but the whole package against illegal (and even legal) immigration is a dangerous path for America to travel. I would suggest, as far out as it may seem at first, we are most probably being manipulated. Is the idea of a national ID program to your liking? Are you comfortable with the bureaucracy deciding who can be hired and employers being severely penalized for errors, even on paperwork? If so, then probably nothing I can present would change your mind. On the other hand, if you feel even a tinge of discomfort, then please allow me the privilege of presenting some further observations.

This idea is a nagging, difficult to define concept that also permeates other issues. An example would be the use of the hostility toward the “rich” and negative commentary regarding various types of businesses as much as it does the hostility toward illegal aliens, positioning both groups (though on the surface quite different) to serve as the scapegoats for all economic and cultural problems. Yet the solutions to these supposed problems always involve greater control over all people. Is there a commonality in the philosophy? I think there definitely is. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to the immigration debate than readily meets the eye.

It is important when studying an issue, particularly one laden with emotion, that one not talk as much with those with whom one agrees but rather go to the source with with those with whom one disagrees. The internet makes it easy to revisit the words and arguments of the organizations and writers and proponents against immigration; the people with whom I disagree the most. There now exists several groups who advocate for much lower immigration across the board. Also available are many early laws and letters from the early sanctions against the Jewish, the Catholics, the Asians, all the prior groups of immigrants and the hostility directed at them, to the present much more sophisticated advocacy groups against immigration. Is there a common thread?

The commonality is clear. The anti-immigration organizations and those who are the most vehement against illegals, refuse to consider more open immigration or drastically reducing the bureaucracy in the administrative agencies. For the most part they are also the ones who advocate for collectivism and top down control of both the economic and the personal lives of people.

In stark contrast are those who consistently support freedom and liberty for all people, voluntary exchange and individual decision making. For those who follow the latter principles, I would hope they would be willing to re-examine their prior ideas regarding all immigrants.

Most important, ask: Who really is committing the travesty?

m one agrees but rather go to the source with with those with whom one disagrees. The internet makes it easy to revisit the words and arguments of the organizations and writers and proponents against immigration; the people with whom I disagree the most. There now exists several groups who advocate for much lower immigration across the board. Also available are many early laws and letters from the early sanctions against the Jewish, the Catholics, the Asians, all the prior groups of immigrants and the hostility directed at them, to the present much more sophisticated advocacy groups against immigration. Is there a common thread?

The commonality is clear. The anti-immigration organizations and those who are the most vehement against illegals, refuse to consider more open immigration or drastically reducing the bureaucracy in the administrative agencies. For the most part they are also the ones who advocate for collectivism and top down control of both the economic and the personal lives of people.

In stark contrast are those who consistently support freedom and liberty for all people, voluntary exchange and individual decision making. For those who follow the latter principles, I would hope they would be willing to re-examine their prior ideas regarding all immigrants.

Most important, ask: Who really is committing the travesty?

This article originally appeared in the AmericanDailyHerald


About The Author

Lynn Atherton-Bloxham has been an enthusiastic pro-freedom activist for many years. A registered commodity and stock broker, her work has included conducting financial and economic evaluations for businesses. As a writer and political and social analyst, her work has appeared in many publications, starting with the Johnson County Missouri Conservative Newsletter in 1962 and continuing since with the Kansas City Business Journal, The Heartland Institute, the California Libertarian Journal, and the Oklahoma Libertarian Forum.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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