Cato Institute’s Blinders Keep it from Seeing Benefit of E-Verify

With the so-called ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ (a.k.a. amnesty legislation) stalled in the House of Representatives, the focus has shifted to individual components of the reform effort. A key component is the effort to deny jobs to illegal aliens – thereby denying an incentive for illegal immigration for both border jumpers and visa violators.

The mandate of Congress in 1996 to set up a system to allow employers to determine whether a new employee was legally entitled to work in the United States evolved into the current E-Verify electronic system that thwarts the use of fake Social Security Numbers and fake immigration documents. But it remains crippled because it is still a voluntary program in most states.

Despite a general consensus in Congress that the verification system should be a requirement for all employers – the Senate included it in S.744, and it passed in committee in the House in June (H.R.1772) – it is being held hostage by the Democrats who insist it must be part of their ‘comprehensive’ amnesty effort.

Of course, businesses that benefit from illegal alien labor oppose the E-Verify expansion because it would expose them to punishment for knowingly hiring illegal workers if they continued to do so.

Those exploiters of illegal workers have a friend in the Cato Institute. Cato opposes any restrictions on the unchecked freedom of employers to bypass American workers and hire whomever they want. Alex Nowrasteh, writing for Cato on website, called E-Verify, an “expensive and wrongheaded labor market regulation.”

But Cato – and the Democrats holding E-Verify hostage to an amnesty – should be heeding the interests of the vast majority of employers who are law-abiding and will benefit from having a level playing field that prevents unscrupulous competitors from gaining a competitive advantage by intentionally hiring illegal alien workers.


A recent article in the Deseret News cited one of those law-abiding employers.

“I am tired of losing work to people who cheat the system and undercut my prices because they don’t have the same overhead as I have because I follow the rules,” said Charlie Arnold, a Delaware businessman who runs a power-washing firm. “I am for it [mandatory E-Verify]simply because in the long run it will help my business.”

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. Pingback: Cato Institute’s Blinders Keep it from Seeing Benefit of E-VerifyAlternate Viewpoint | Alternate Viewpoint

  2. avatar
    cynthia curran on

    Too much of too little
    A diet fueled by food stamps is making South.Texas.McAllen, Tex. — They were already running late for a doctor’s appointment, but first the Salas family hurried into their kitchen for another breakfast paid for by the federal government. The 4-year-old grabbed a bag of cheddar-flavored potato chips and a granola bar. The 9-year-old filled a bowl with sugary cereal and then gulped down chocolate milk. Their mother, Blanca, arrived at the refrigerator and reached into the drawer where she stored the insulin needed to treat her diabetes. She filled a needle with fluid and injected it into her stomach with a practiced jab.

    “Let’s go,” she told the children, rushing them out of the kitchen and into the car. “We can stop for snacks on our way home.”

    This is the fifth in a series of stories by Washington Post staff writer Eli Saslow looking at the U.S. food stamps program.

    The food stamp economy: A look at how food stamps drive the economy in a Rhode Island town.
    The recruiter: A food stamp recruiter deals with wrenching choices.
    Summer lunches: A new way to help hungry children: A bus turned bread truck
    Hard work: A Florida congressman pushing to overhaul the food stamp system toils to win over a divided Congress.
    The family checkup had been scheduled at the insistence of a school nurse, who wanted the Salas family to address two concerns: They were suffering from both a shortage of nutritious food and a diet of excess — paradoxical problems that have become increasingly interconnected in the United States, and especially in South Texas.

    For almost a decade, Blanca had supported her five children by stretching $430 in monthly food stamp benefits, adding lard to thicken her refried beans and buying instant soup by the case at a nearby dollar store. She shopped for “quantity over quality,” she said, aiming to fill a grocery cart for $100 or less.

    But the cheap foods she could afford on the standard government allotment of about $1.50 per meal also tended to be among the least nutritious — heavy in preservatives, fats, salt and refined sugar. Now Clarissa, her 13-year-old daughter, had a darkening ring around her neck that suggested early-onset diabetes from too much sugar. Now Antonio, 9, was sharing dosages of his mother’s
    Here’s the worst case of lots of Hispanic immirgant impact,, Texas Rio Grande area

  3. avatar

    The idea that Alex Nowrasteh and CATO would portray e-verify as “expensive” is simply ludicrous. The system is already set up and working. It’s not that big a deal to punch 9 numbers into a computer. The fact is that CATO is libertarian and opposes ANY government regulation. They also contend that business should be able to import all the foreign workers they want. Whether or not there is any “shortage” of American workers for those positions.