House-Senate conferees finalizing the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, yesterday, undermined the long-term security of American workers by removing language that would have made the E-Verify program permanent. Instead, the conference agreement limits reauthorization to just three years.

E-Verify is the nation’s essential worksite verification tool that allows employers to voluntarily determine whether workers are legally authorized to work in the U.S. by electronically verifying their Social Security numbers. Over 140,000 employers are using the system, 1000 are joining each week, and according to the Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify has a 99.6 percent accuracy rate.

The decision to extend E-Verify for only three years is further evidence of the Obama administration’s and the congressional leadership’s effort to raise a smokescreen while it dismantles all effective controls against illegal immigration, charged the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Conferees also stripped other safeguards in the Senate bill that were intended to protect American workers from losing jobs to illegal aliens. These provisions included a requirement that federal contractors use E-Verify to determine the employment eligibility of new and existing employees working on federal contracts, and language to prevent the repeal of a rule that required employers to take action upon the receipt of “no-match” letters, issued to employers whose workers’ Social Security data cannot be confirmed. A third provision would have ensured all employers can use E-Verify to determine employment eligibility of existing workers in addition to new hires.

“A three-year extension of E-Verify was the bare minimum this administration and the congressional leadership could support and still make any credible claim that they are prepared to enforce U.S. immigration laws,” said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “All that would have been required to make E-Verify a permanent federal program is for conferees to have adopted provisions that were already part of the Senate bill. The fact that they did not speaks volumes about the priorities of this Congress and the Obama administration.”

“Unfortunately, at a time when American workers most need the full commitment of their government to protect their jobs, what they got was a half-hearted gesture. E-Verify is the real meat and potatoes of worksite enforcement and dries up the jobs magnet which is the reason illegal aliens come and the reason they stay. The program offers a meaningful solution to our immigration crisis and needs a permanent reauthorization, not a temporary stay of execution. The Obama administration and congressional leaders demonstrated, once again, that their goal is to minimize the enforcement of laws against illegal immigration,” concluded Stein.

The above is a press release dated October 9 from Federation for American Immigration Reform, 25 Massachusetts Avenue – Suite 330 Washington DC, 20001, Office 202-328-7004 http://www.fairus.org. Contact Bob Dane 202-328-7004 or Ira Mehlman 206-420-7733 for details of the above. Email: media@fairus.org. Founded in 1979, FAIR is the oldest and largest immigration reform group in America. FAIR fights for immigration policies that enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs and wages and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.

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