For too long, the federal government has asked employers to use a broken system to verify someone's immigration status. We all agree that if someone knowingly hires a person here illegally, the company should be penalized and individual deported. But, under the previous system, both the federal government and employers were stuck using a system that didn't work to satisfy the public demand for enforcement while leaving employers liable even when they used that system.
E-Verify was born out of this chaos and while not perfect, has the potential to revolutionize employment verification and solve many of the ancillary issues surrounding illegal immigration.
The previous program, called the "Basic Pilot Program," was an Internet-based system where an employer checks a new hire's name and Social Security number against a government-run database to make sure the name and number match.
The new E-Verify system fixes many of the flaws in the Basic Pilot Program. E-Verify works by allowing participating employers to electronically compare employee information taken from the Form I-9 (the paper-based employment eligibility verification form used for all new hires) against more than 425 million records in the Social Security Administration's database and more than 60 million records in federal databases. Results are returned within seconds.
Some argue that the system will still return too many "no match" indicators and immediately cast suspicion onto otherwise lawful Americans. This concern is legitimate, but manageable. According to government figures, where E-Verify has been used, 93 percent of employers' queries are instantly verified as work-authorized and only 7 percent come back as tentative no-matches.
Also, enforcing the law will have a chilling effect on illegal applicants. Anecdotal evidence suggests this is already happening, and that, as use of the system spreads, non-matches drop drastically. Finally, employers may not take any action against an employee because he/she contests the information mismatch. Innocent until proven guilty is still a bedrock principle in America. Only now, we will hopefully be able to dramatically reduce the time needed to determine eligibility.
In an effort to bring E-Verify up to its potential, I will soon introduce in Congress the "E-Verify Extension and Expansion Act of 2008." This bill will allow for biometric technology to reduce fraud and prevent identity theft. It will also reduce the number of documents accepted as verification of status from 24 to 7. Only the most fraud-resistant and difficult to obtain will remain. It will also create a uniform system of verification so no state can circumvent the ID requirements.
None of this is to say that concerns about an E-Verify system do not remain. A government database of information on Americans gives me a chill no matter how well-intentioned. Ensuring there are sufficient safeguards against that information being used for any reason other than verification and immigration/deportation proceedings is vital.
E-verify is a first step. But we must keep the pressure on to make sure it actually works in the real world. If employers are provided a level of protection from selective prosecution when they use the system, then this voluntary program will be used by 100 percent of legitimate businesses. With incentives, businesses will embrace E-Verify, allowing law enforcement agencies to focus their resources on those willfully violating our laws and not the people trying to comply.
• Chris Cannon represents Utah's 3rd District in Congress.
That ends the Daily Herald Article. I'd like to add these pertinent facts:
There has been a great deal of negative campaigning toward Chris Cannon already. Here are a few home truths which can be 100% verified:
Truth: The non-partisan National Journal rates Chris Cannon as more fiscally conservative than 96% of House Members -- a stronger fiscal rating than even Congressman Ron Paul.
Truth: Congressman Cannon was given a 96% pork free voting record on government spending by the Club for Growth – one of their best scores.
Truth: Chris Cannon LED the successful fight to keep internet access tax free.
Truth: The NRA has awarded Chris Cannon an "A+" for his work to protect 2nd Amendment rights -- the highest grade possible.
Truth: Chris Cannon holds the highest lifetime rating for any member of the Utah congressional delegation by the American Conservative Union.
Truth: The lowest lifetime rating for any member of the Utah congressional delegation from the ACLU belongs to Chris Cannon.
Truth: Chris is the Chairman of the influential Western Congressional Caucus, a leading organization in Congress devoted to providing a united voice for the interests of western states, energy development and common sense access to public lands
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