SOME LEFT WONDERING WHY E-VERIFY STRIPPED FROM STIMULUS BILL
By Vince Jackson
The final version of the federal Economic Stimulus Bill does not contain a provision requiring the use of the E-Verify system in the hiring of employees on federal stimulus projects. The current requirement to verify federal contract employees is due to expire on March 6.
The provision was originally included in the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill, but was deleted from the final reconciliation package before being signed by President Obama this week.
Locally, Pickens County, SC has used E-Verify to screen all new employees, the State of South Carolina uses it for certifying workers of companies that employ over 500 people and participate in state contacts. Last fall, then President Bush extended the requirement that contractors doing business in the federal workplace certify that their employees are legally able to work in this country.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration have partnered to, quickly and without charge, verify the legal status of any worker in the United States, according to the Homeland Security webpage.
Margaret Thompson, an outspoken advocate of the E-Verify system, said “Our leaders are spineless when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws and the protection of the jobs of American workers.”
Thompson said that a group of concerned citizens plans to speak-out at Anderson city and county council meetings in the future about the hiring of illegal workers on public projects, that are paid for with local tax dollars.
“We want our local officials to understand that jobs are being lost because contractors are skirting the law and hiring illegal workers,” Thompson said.
Stuart Sprague, chairman of the Anderson County Democratic Party, said that he was not up to speed on some provisions of the stimulus package and could not comment at this time.
Lee Rogers, chairman of the Anderson County Republican Party, said “I do not understand why E-Verify would be dropped from the stimulus bill. I can only hope that it will continue to be a part of the state and federal job verification process.”
Joe Guzzardi, a consultant for NumbersUSA and former California Democratic gubernatorial candidate, “It is a very sad realization that our leaders do not have America’s best interests at heart. I work with E-Verify every day and I know that it works. Why would we want illegal workers on our state and federal payrolls being paid with stimulus money?”
John Painter, Pickens County Democratic chairman, said “My hope is that Gov. Sanford will take advantage of the Stimulus Package, because the taxpayers of SC will pay it back no matter what the outcomes.”
It is unclear what the status of Homeland Security’s e-verification process will be or what the effect of not re-authorizing the federal requirement will have on state and local programs.