The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Deserves Our Thanks

By Ronald W. Mortensen on May 31, 2011

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld Arizona's mandatory E-Verify program, the U.S. Chamber deserves a huge vote of thanks.

If the U.S. Chamber had not challenged Arizona's law, opponents of mandatory employment verification would have been able to continue to tell the states that they could not mandate the use of E-Verify.

However, that argument no longer holds up and the Chamber has actually opened the flood gates for all states to implement a mandatory E-Verify program. Now all a state has to do is to copy the Supreme Court-certified Arizona law, pass it and, voila, employers are required to enroll in E-Verify.

How long will it take for legislators to act? Well, Utah state Rep. Steven Sandstrom has already opened a bill file to enact the Utah version of the Arizona E-Verify/employer sanctions law. And, he has called on the governor to call a special session of the legislature in September.

In addition, thanks to the U.S. Chamber, employers and apologists for illegal aliens are now relegated to arguing that E-Verify is a failed system, that it is not advantageous for employers to use it, and that it discriminates against minorities. Their media shills are already helping them push out this argument.

However, once again, thanks to the Chamber, none other than the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court has directly addressed and shot down each of these arguments. According to Chief Justice Roberts:

The Federal Government reports that "E-Verify's successful track record….is borne out by findings documenting the system's accuracy and participants' satisfaction." Brief for United States Amicus Curiae 31. Indeed, according to the Government, the program is "the best means available to determine the employment eligibility of new hires." U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, E-Verify User Manual for Employers 4 (Sept. 2010).

In addition, a footnote in the opinion states that:

Statistics from Fiscal Year 2010, however, indicate that of the 15,640,167 E-Verify cases submitted, 98.3% were automatically confirmed as work authorized, 0.3% were confirmed as work authorized after contesting and resolving an initial nonconfirmation – an avenue available to all workers – and 1.43% were not found work authorized….As JUSTICE BREYER notes, the initial mismatches (the 0.3%) are frequently due to "incorrectly spelled [names] in government databases or on identification documents." Post, at 19. Such a hazard is of course not unique to E-Verify. Moreover, JUSTICE BREYER's statistical analysis underlying his conclusion that E-Verify queries, at least initially, wrongly "suggest[] that an individual [i]s not lawfully employable" "18% of the time>/i>" needs to be understood for what it is. Post, at 8. If E-Verify initially indicated that two individuals were not found work authorized, and later revealed that one of those determinations was incorrect, JUSTICE BREYER would be able to exclaim that the error rate was 50%. [link added]

Chief Justice Roberts also lets employers know that it is in their best interest to use E-Verify because "both the federal and Arizona law accord employers a rebuttable presumption of compliance with the law when they use E-Verify to validate a finding of employment eligibility."

Finally, the Court's opinion shoots down the assertion that Arizona's E-Verify and employer sanctions law will lead to employment discrimination by pointing out that both federal and state anti-discrimination provisions protect workers. This, of course, was previously confirmed by an independent evaluation of the E-Verify program that found that use of E-Verify actually reduces discrimination in the hiring process against foreign-born workers and that workers' privacy and civil rights have been strengthened.

So, in its desperate effort to provide its members with an unlimited supply of illegal labor, the U.S. Chamber ended up shooting itself in the foot and giving E-Verify and employer sanctions a huge boost.

All I can say to the U.S. Chamber is: Thanks.

Topics: E-Verify