The Logic of E-Verify

Supporters of the E-Verify system that allows employers to assure that they are not employing illegal aliens is supported by a large majority of the public, members on both sides of the aisle in Congress and is included in the immigration reforms advocated by President Trump. So why isn’t it a national mandatory requirement?

In an August 13 article in The Hill newspaper, a retired immigration enforcement professional argued that making E-Verify a national mandatory system would be more effective in shutting down illegal immigration than the proposed border wall expansion Again, why then hasn’t it been implemented?

Some appear to think the E-Verify system is already in force. And in fact it does exist as a voluntary system nationwide and it has been made partially or wholly mandatory in some states and local jurisdictions. But, as long as illegal alien workers can flow to states where the system is not required or not effectively enforced, it will not constitute an effective deterrent to illegal immigration.

There are two major reasons that an effective E-Verify system is not the law of the land. The first is that there is a broad network of employer organizations that oppose the system because it would deprive them of cheap exploitable illegal alien labor. Those organizations have influence not just with libertarians but also with politicians. The other reason is that any meaningful immigration reform has long been stymied by the logjam between the Democrats who insist on a full-scale amnesty for all illegal aliens as part of any reform legislation and Republicans who oppose an amnesty.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration made an overly generous amnesty offer to illegal aliens who came into the country as minors. That offer was soundly rejected by congressional Democrats, a clear indication that they want unconditional amnesty without any meaningful enforcement.

This impasse is extremely frustrating to all those concerned about the security, fiscal, and social impact of the out-of-control border. It seems as if a national referendum would be the only way to bypass the legislative logjam. But, isn’t that what national elections are supposed to provide? One can hope that the present acute focus on immigration policy may result in a public sufficiently informed and energized to constitute the needed referendum.

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. avatar

    We need E-Verify but also physical border security to protect Americans from the likes of the Mexican drug cartels who do things like **** mangled bodies like cuts of meat from freeway overpasses, make graphic execution videos as a warning to others, etc.

    China is another large country with long borders that has done a lot in recent years to physically secure its borders.

    From the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief:

    The Modernization of China’s Border and Coastal Defense Infrastructure

    By: Russell Hsiao February 4, 2010

    —-” In 2005, the title of the National Border Defense Committee was changed to the National Border and Coastal Defense Committee to accelerate the development of border and coastal defense by placing both areas under a unified command.”

    —-“Since then the PLA has reportedly constructed 25,000 kilometers of maritime border patrol tunnels, 7,000 kilometers of fences, and at least 3,000 border demarcations, watchtowers, coastal defense installations, harbors and tarmac as part of this national project. The completion of a sentry post reportedly located in Medog County of the Nyingtri Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—bordering the disputed Arunachal Pradesh region—late last year apparently marked the completion of a nationwide surveillance system that serves as a component of this colossal infrastructure project. The Chinese media dubbed this network “China’s Digital Great Wall” (Xinhua News Agency, February 2).

    According to a report in the South China Morning Post (Nanhua Zaobao)—a Hong Kong-based newspaper—the completion of the “digital surveillance system” (shuzi jiankong xitong) was an integral part of China’s national security strategy and finished at the end of 2009. The number of surveillance sentry posts reportedly number in the thousands, and fiber optic cables were used to connect these posts to 10 control centers. According to the same report, all border patrol stations with more than 100 soldiers have been linked up to this surveillance system (Xinhua News Agency, February 2).

    A member of the Committee cited by the official Xinhua News Agency stated that the completion of these installations reflect the development of China’s border and coastal defense from a scattered, single-mission-oriented, incompatible system to a diversified, well-connected, comprehensive system, which serves military, political, economic and social benefits (Xinhua News Agency, February 1).”

    —-“The system will also reportedly help stem human smuggling, illegal immigration, drugs and other unlawful activities (Xinhua News Agency, February 2).”

    —-“In his remarks at the opening ceremony for the Committee meeting, Defense Minister General Liang Guanglie stated that with the completion of the system the work of border and coastal defense “must be enhanced for national interests.” Defense Minister Liang emphasized that, “Defending China’s Sovereignty, territorial security and maritime interests should be a top mission of the country’s border and coastal defense work” (Xinhua News Agency, January 29; Global Times, January 29).”

  2. avatar

    The other side does the usual lying when it comes to e-verify. The claim that it is expensive and burdensome is totally false. It’s a matter of entering name and Social Security or work authorization number and the results generally come back in less than a minute. It’s also false that employers can use it to prescreen employees. The person has to have been already hired before the check can be done. Even if results come back as no match, the employee is told that and has the opportunity to correct it. If you know you’re legal, you can easily supply that information. Illegals won’t bother.

    A couple nights ago in Sweden there were a hundred cars burned in certain neighborhoods, which apparently just by coincidence happen to be the migrant heavy areas. Police only enter those areas in groups because they are otherwise attacked. This has been going on for at least a couple of years and when Trump made reference to it about a year ago, the media immediately went into their “he’s making stuff up again” mode. He made nothing up. And all the people who warned that this was going to be the result of just blindly accepting everyone were at the time dismissed with the usual charges of bigot, nativist and all the other slander. Just like this country.

  3. avatar

    There is a great need to have all the people in congress listed by name what they vote for and as soon as they do
    it. No one knows what they are doing and they should. There are a lot of people that are afraid to say out loud what they think but when it comes to voting and no one knows how they vote they will vote them out of office if they are not doing what they promised. Congress is running wild and the people do not know what, when, or who they are. They lie to us all and then vote in the middle of the night and cover up what they do. “Turn on the lights and let the cock roaches run”

  4. avatar

    As great as E-Verify sounds, it’s meaningless as long as an ILLEGAL ALIEN can use a name and Social Security number issued to his ANCHOR BABY! Also, it’s rumored that half the Dominicans illegally in the state of Massachusetts are using stolen – or sold! – Puerto Rican names, DOB’s, and SSN’s. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • avatar
      Diana Talmadge on

      That is true…but the birth date can be easily verified…I worked in collections & knew immediately that a 10 year old did not purchase a vehicle. The employers are a t fault..they want the cheap labor of illegal aliens!