Biden has an opportunity to show mercy to those in low-paid, unsafe jobs

Will president pick up the 'G-verify' ball that protects Black workers?

By William W. Chip on January 26, 2021

Washington Times, January 26, 2021

A byline of today's "progressive" media is that African-Americans are held back by the "systemic neglect" of "White society."

In contrast, since-deceased Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, along with more than a few African-American leaders, have attributed the plight of Black Americans less to "neglect" by "White society" than to a breakdown of family life owing to the difficulties faced by many Black men in finding jobs that pay enough to support the families they have brought into being.

Is "White society" to blame for that? Actually, yes. When I moved my family to Washington, D.C., in 1979, most "nannies" and housekeepers were Black. Within a decade, nearly all had been replaced by mostly-illegal Latina immigrants. Forty years later, all the men who collect my trash are Black (because the city hires them), while all the men who are repairing my sidewalk are Latino (hired by private contractors).

(For the record, my wife is Hispanic, I speak Spanish, and I have talked with many of those Latina/Latino workers. Almost all are fine people who simply didn't take seriously immigration laws that our government didn't bother to enforce and that half our political leaders have called out as "racist.")

So, what is to be done? NumbersUSA, a nonprofit organization that supports limits on immigration, recently published an "Interim Final Rule" of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was released to them by a "White House source." According to the source, the Rule was delivered last fall by DHS to the White House, which then ran out of time to complete the arduous economic analysis and regulatory reviews required of so significant a rule.

Although I do not know the identity of the White House source, I was contacted by NumbersUSA because my name is on the Rule's first page. The Rule is named "G-Verify," shorthand for "Government Verification" of employment authorization. According to the Rule's Background section, the Rule was intended to make effective the statutory prohibition in the 1986 Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA) against the hiring of unauthorized alien workers (UAWs).

The only enforcement mechanism in the 35-year-old statute was a requirement that each new employee report his/her name, SSN, birth date, and work authorization on a DHS-designated form (Form I-9), which the employer has to store for three years. Employers wanting assurance that a new hire is legal have to enter the data a second time online under the "E-Verify" program. U.S. immigration authorities only get to review the employer-stored Forms I-9 through costly "worksite inspections."

According to the "Background" of the G-Verify Rule: "The consequences of these IRCA shortcomings have been severely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of which approximately 17 million American citizens and permanent resident aliens who want to work cannot find jobs. These millions of unemployed Americans are competing for jobs with a UAW workforce of more than 8 million, who are now estimated to hold more than 7 million of the jobs so greatly needed by those Americans. According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the American workers most likely to be competing for those UAW-held jobs are Black men."

The "G-Verify" Rule updates those obsolete, duplicative, and ineffective procedures (enacted when "online" didn't exist) by mandating online completion of Form I-9, providing every employer immediate verification of the work-eligibility of new hires without having to enter the same data twice or to store forms. G-Verify would spare immigration authorities the cost of worksite inspections and would spare employers the costs of storing forms and making duplicate entries. These changes should be welcomed by American business, except perhaps the minority that deliberately hire UAWs.

President Biden, while condemning "systemic racism," promises to legalize more than 8 million illegal-alien workers, freeing them to abandon the low-paid, unsafe jobs many now hold in order to compete with Black and other working-class citizens for the better paying jobs that Mr. Biden proposes to create by rebuilding our infrastructure. Might Mr. Biden show some mercy to those citizens by picking up the "G-Verify" ball that was dropped in his lap by the Trump administration?