President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request includes a $15 million line item to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers. Next to the $15 million President Thomas Jefferson paid the French in the Louisiana Purchase transaction of 1803, this could turn out to be the best $15 million the government ever spends.
Two significant concerns dominated the 2016 election campaign and helped propel Trump to the White House: unchecked illegal immigration and the erosion of middle class jobs in the United States. The $15 million the president is asking for to make E-Verify a mandatory part of the hiring process would go a long way toward addressing both of those concerns.
The congressional Democratic leadership is almost certain to oppose any stand-alone measure to make E-Verify mandatory and will likely demand that it be tied to some sort of amnesty for illegal aliens. But they are in a very weak bargaining position, and the Republican leadership must hold the Democrats accountable if they block approval of this budget item.
Instead of backing down in the face of a budget impasse (as the GOP leadership is prone to do), Republican leaders must force their political opponents to explain to the American people why they are willing to hold both the federal budget and job security for American workers hostage to amnesty for illegal aliens. This is particularly true in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to break a filibuster. While Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) might not pay a political price for holding E-Verify and DHS’s budget hostage to rewards for illegal aliens, he has a slew of vulnerable senators in his caucus who are facing reelection next year in red or purple states. In particular, those vulnerable Democrats should be forced to explain to their constituents why they are standing in the way of protecting the jobs of American workers.
If the Republican leadership does not hold obstructionist senators accountable, then they need to be held accountable themselves.