Making a Federal Case for E-Verify

Chalk up more positive results for E-Verify, the free online federal database that screens legal employment eligibility.

A statistical analysis of demographic reports, including the U.S. Census American Community Survey, finds that the number of recent illegal immigrants fell by almost 50 percent in states with universal E-Verify laws.

Specifically, “having an E-Verify law reduces the number of less-educated prime-age immigrants from Mexico and Central America — immigrants who are likely to be unauthorized — living in a state,” researchers Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny reported.

Orrenius and Zavodny studied seven states that have adopted E-Verify requirements: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah. The effects were particularly profound in Arizona, where the researchers found an exodus of alien workers following the implementation of mandatory E-Verify in 2008.

On the other hand, the study found little effect in states where E-Verify laws only apply to government agencies and government contractors. “This is not surprising since relatively few unauthorized immigrants are directly affected by those laws,” the researchers wrote.

 TEXAS: Where E-Verify Goes to Die

The report is also a cautionary tale for neighboring states that eschew E-Verify. Evidence suggests that E-Verify laws divert newly arriving illegal immigrants to other states, especially those nearby.

This “spillover effect” is a prime reason to enact universal E-Verify at the federal level. With Seven states demonstrating the effectiveness of the employment-vetting system, it’s time for Congress to follow suit and level the playing field for all.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has sensibly included mandatory E-Verify in his newly proposed SECURE Act, which he calls “pro-American and pro-worker.” In the House, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has reintroduced the Legal Workforce Act, requiring E-Verify.

Yes, it would be out of character for Congress to stand up to special interests, the business lobby and the open-borders crowd. But as a new year and the 2018 elections draw near, American workers can hope for the blessed day when Washington politicians actually serve the people who elect them.

About Author


Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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