Federal programs are notorious for mission creep. Small programs intended to address specific concerns typically grow far beyond their original bounds. Social Security numbers are a prime example: They initially were intended to track personal income in order to calculate Social Security benefits, but now they are indispensable for access to credit, purchasing a firearm and much more.
The House Judiciary Committee is considering another program destined to creep into the rest of our lives. The Legal Workforce Act (LWA), introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would mandate E-Verify for all new hires in the United States. E-Verify is a government program intended to discourage the hiring of illegal immigrants by enabling employers to verify the legal work status of all new employees.
Mandating E-Verify would force every American to ask the government for permission to work. That is bad enough, but it gets even worse: The system is defective. The database it relies on often fails to identify illegal immigrants and sometimes rejects people who are legally eligible to work.
These inaccuracies portend dangerous mission creep. According to a recent government audit, E-Verify approves roughly half of illegal immigrant workers, partly because it only checks the documents that the worker gives the employer, creating a huge loophole. LWA attempts to resolve that by notifying all Americans when their Social Security numbers are used for employment verification. But that won’t close the loopholes, and so eager politicians in Washington will keep piling on new regulations, mandates and controls.
The next step will be a national biometric identity card for all citizens and legal residents to aid workplace verification of immigration status. LWA creates “pilot authentication programs” based on “new technologies,” which will combine E-Verify with our biometric information to create a more foolproof system. Such a system was proposed in 2010. Organizations like the Federation for American Immigration Reform already support it.
But mandatory E-Verify could soon morph into far more….
By Alex Nowrasteh – The Hill –