Perhaps the single most significant hope of electing Donald Trump to the presidency was that now we would finally — finally — get America’s immigration system under control. So far, there are signs for both confidence and concern — the administration has been cracking down on sanctuary cities, while the southern border wall remains a big unknown for the time being. But one tool that could make even more of an impact than both of those combined has gone overlooked all this time.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Times ran an eye-opening piece on how E-Verify, the system that uses Social Security numbers to confirm whether a prospective worker is legally authorized to be in the United States, is being inconsistently used and going unenforced, even in states that claim to take a hard line on illegal immigration:
[Texas] has no one in charge of making agencies comply with the law. It also does not require private employers to use the system if they are not working with the state.
And that, some immigration experts say, highlights a flaw in how states and the federal government combat illegal immigration […]
Some immigrant rights activists complain that governments, though eager to target workers in the country illegally, protect the employers who hire them. Texas Democrats have come up with a term to describe this situation — a twist on the phrase “sanctuary cities” — that JoAnn Flemming, executive director of the conservative group Grassroots America, says she can agree with.
“It’s called ‘sanctuary businesses/industry,’” she said. “That makes a lot of Republicans mad when you use that term, but the fact of the matter is that there is a strong cheap labor lobby in Texas, and they give a lot of money to candidates and they have a lot of influence” […]
Only Arizona, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina require that all private and public employers use E-Verify within their borders. But enforcement is weak and punishment rare, according to immigration experts. The South Carolina law contains multiple loopholes that exempt housekeepers, landscapers, farm workers, nannies and fisherman working in small crews.
At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw sums up the root of the problem:
Too many politicians at the local, state and federal level are not serious about going after employers. Chuck Grassley has introduced legislation three times now which would make the use of E-Verify mandatory across the nation. Each time the effort has died in Congress.
This is a problem with a solution already available to us. But we seem to be electing people (including the Republicans) who don’t have the spine to get this done.
Indeed, there are number of factions within the Republican Party and on the Right who stand with the Left against any serious, conservative immigration reform.
It’s not just the GOP establishment’s fear of the media and desire to appease liberal elites we have to contend with (as big an obstacle as they are); we also face people beholden to the interests of the cheap labor lobby, who confuse freeing businesses to compete (authentic conservatism) with guaranteeing businesses favorable outcomes (cronyism).
Our default position as conservatives should be letting states make their own decisions on most things, but the integrity of our borders is one of the select few issues our Founders meant to have a uniform national standard.
Accordingly, support for a national E-Verify mandate must be one of our key metrics for judging whether President Trump lives up to his campaign promise to finally secure our borders.