Time to Make E-Verify Bigger in Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is again sending National Guard troops to patrol the state’s southern border. But their presence is of limited value as long as the Biden administration persists with its sieve-like catch and release program.

While states have no say in federal immigration policy, Texas could help itself by expanding its limited E-Verify employment-screening program. This can be done at virtually no cost, and would minimize the damage being wrought on the state by the Biden border crisis because a comprehensive E-Verify law shuts off the job magnet and deters illegal aliens from remaining in Texas.

Unfortunately, bills introduced at the 2021 Texas Legislature do not go nearly far enough. Most merely make technical updates to the current law, which only requires compliance by companies performing work on state contracts. The lone measure that goes beyond those narrow parameters adds just one boutique sector — “sexually oriented businesses” – to the participant list.

At last report, less than one-third of all hires in Texas were run through the state’s loose E-Verify system. More troubling, the state doesn’t assign anyone to make sure the law’s minimal requirements are being followed.

By contrast, eight states with universal E-Verify requirements saw their influx of illegal aliens tumble by almost 50 percent in recent years. Arizona’s E-Verify program was credited with an increase in return migration to Mexico.

Overall, E-Verify is widely popular with voters. Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans support requiring all employers to use it. It’s time for timid Texas politicians to step up.

With border chaos growing and deportations declining sharply under the Biden administration, Texas – a state with more than 2 million illegal aliens — would benefit from a robust E-Verify law now more than ever.

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