- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The editorial “Foreign aid?” (Opinion, Friday) made a serious blunder in its description of E-Verify, a failed electronic employment-verification system. Fortunately for workers, members of Congress did not make the same mistake and removed the provision mandating use of an ineffective program from the recently passed stimulus package.

Contrary to the purpose of the stimulus package, E-Verify would have created obstacles to employment. Several federally commissioned reports and studies show that because of errors in our government records, E-Verify would create significant delays in the hiring process for American citizens and immigrants in the country lawfully. The Social Security Administration, the agency that checks employee records, is especially known for errors and backlogs.

Even worse, a Government Accountability Office report in 2008 that examined an employment-verification proposal in the last Congress found that the process would be so burdensome that it would create an incentive for employers to pay their workers off the books. It is estimated that this practice alone would decrease tax and Social Security receipts to the tune of $40 billion over a 10-year period - further crippling the federal budget.

Until the federal government can scrub clean its database errors, E-Verify cannot be made a requirement for American businesses. It is counterproductive for all Americans struggling to make ends meet in these tough financial times.

TIMOTHY SPARAPANI

Senior legislative counsel

American Civil Liberties Union

Washington

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