New Jersey Senator Demands "Recapture" of Hundreds of Thousands of Visas in Order to Allow Reauthorization of E-Verify
WASHINGTON , July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senate consideration of a bill to reauthorize the E-Verify program has come to a screeching halt, as Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is demanding that hundreds of thousands of visas - mostly for foreign workers - be made available to special interests. The E-Verify program, which will expire on Nov. 30 if it is not reauthorized, allows employers to electronically verify workers' Social Security numbers to ensure they are legally entitled to work in the U.S.
In recent years, voluntary participation by employers in E-Verify has grown exponentially, as businesses have found it a convenient and reliable way to comply with laws against hiring illegal aliens. Sen. Menendez is seeking the "recapture" of unused visas - both employment and family-based -- going back to 1992 in order to permit reauthorization of E-Verify to move forward. By some estimates, the number of "recaptured" visas could be as high as 600,000.
"All across the country, including New Jersey , Americans are nervous about the state of our economy, about their jobs, and about whether their wages can keep up with rapidly increasing costs for energy and food," noted Dan Stein , president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "In effect, what Sen. Menendez is doing is making reauthorization of a program that protects American jobs and wages contingent on a provision that would flood the labor market at a precarious time, and exert further downward pressure on wages."
FAIR has strongly advocated that E-Verify, now a voluntary program, be made permanent and mandatory for all employers. "If there is one thing that everyone in Congress seems to agree on, it is that we must make it as difficult as possible for illegal aliens to find employment in the U.S. E-Verify has been proven to be an effective and easy way for employers to determine if the workers they hire are authorized to work here. Rather than being punitive, E-Verify affords honest, law-abiding businesses with an effective way to avoid hiring illegal aliens in the first place," Stein said.
FAIR is urging the Senate leadership to remove obstacles to reauthorization of E-Verify and bring the measure to a vote before the August recess. With elections looming, the legislative calendar between now and the end of November is an extremely short one.
"Now, more than any time in recent memory, American workers need their government to protect their interests. E-Verify protects American jobs, and its reauthorization should be pro forma, not turned into an opportunity to leverage more foreign workers into our labor market," concluded Stein.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest and oldest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.