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Inland Rep. Ken Calvert wants mandatory E-Verify, but does it work?

By in Press Enterprise on November 11, 2017

By Jeff Horseman

A House bill co-sponsored by an Inland congressman would require employers to use a federal online database to verify a prospective employee’s eligibility to work in the United States.

The Legal Workforce Act cleared the House Judiciary Committee by a 20-10 vote Oct. 25, setting up a future vote by the full House of Representatives.

The bill would mandate the use of E-Verify, an online system maintained by the Department of Homeland Security that checks information provided by potential new hires against homeland security, Social Security and State Department records. The goal is ensure American jobs go to those who are legally allowed to work here.

The bill’s lead sponsors are Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia; Lamar Smith, R-Texas; and Ken Calvert, R-Corona. Calvert, who represents much of western Riverside County, wrote the bill that created E-Verify in 1996.

“Mandatory E-Verify is long overdue,” Calvert said in a news release on the bill’s introduction. “The program is ready to go mandatory and the Legal Workforce Act will deliver on the promise to ensure that American jobs go to American workers and those authorized to work in the U.S.”

Critics say E-Verify can be manipulated and can wrongly deny jobs to eligible workers. A consulting firm’s 2009 audit found that due mainly to identify fraud, E-Verify cleared 54 percent of unauthorized workers.

“The system has already proven remarkably ineffective at its intended purpose – keeping unauthorized workers away from jobs,” David Bier, an immigration policy analyst with the Libertarian CATO Institute, wrote in a May 2017 blog post on CATO’s website.

Calvert defended E-Verify in a telephone interview Monday, Nov. 6.

“I don’t believe that people who are here illegally should be working,” he said. “(E-Verify has) been in effect for almost 20 years. It’s worked very well. It’s grown. It’s something that a lot of […]    

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