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Guilty until proven innocent. That’s what our new E-Verify system is doing to honest Alabama workers and businesses.
This program, which will soon be mandated by law, is intended to curb the employment of illegal residents. Employers will have to register all of their employees in the E-Verify system and ensure that anyone they do business with also uses E-Verify. Fines for “non-compliant” employers are in the range of 10 years in prison and $25,000 for each violation.
All businesses will be required to register with and use E-Verify on April 1st. Though the monetary cost to use the federal program is free, it has many hidden costs. Schools, which receive federal money, were required to begin using E-Verify on January 1st. Schools are also required to have assurances from every contractor they do business with that they are also using E-Verify.
The first problem that our schools will run in to is that though they are currently required to use E-Verify, other businesses are not until April. A problem with this, for example, is if a teacher goes to Target to buy school supplies for his or her classroom with school money, unless Target has provided paperwork that all of their employees have been through the E-Verify system, that teacher will be in violation of the law.
A teacher buying school supplies will be in violation of the law.
Currently, the state government has done nothing to compile a list of vendors using E-Verify. It is up to each business to exchange information with each vendor they purchase goods or services from. What kind of logistical nightmare must a large organization like Madison City Schools be facing where the number of vendors and contractors they deal with is in the hundreds?
E-Verify is an impractical and punitive measure that does nothing to solve the problem of illegal immigration.
Instead of working with various state and local public services to set up roadblocks for the detection of illegal immigrants, the federal government has put all of the responsibility of enforcement on businesses and schools. Legislators are ensnaring businesses and schools with red tape without taking any of the responsibility upon themselves to police illegal immigration through government agencies like the Department of Labor.
Legislators are avoiding the responsibility by dumping it on people who should not be involved in screening people.
The most perplexing thing about this issue is that even though E-Verify is intended to deny jobs to illegal immigrants, they are still eligible for numerous social services including, but not limited to, SSI, food stamps, and healthcare under ObamaCare.
Instead of conscripting businesses and schools to police a federal program, lawmakers need to take more direct action and responsibility if any ground is going to be gained in the area of illegal immigration. Employers are not the only people who need the full responsibility of identifying illegal immigrants with the federal government swooping down occasionally to hand out fines and punishments.