- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Expanding the flawed E-Verify could result in 2.5 million legal residents and citizens a year being misidentified as unauthorized workers and fired (“E-Xpand E-Verify,” Editorial, Monday). Wrongly forcing that many men and women out of work is not only unfair and disruptive to them and their families, but it could trip up our economy just as it is getting back on its feet.

Immigrant workers, documented and otherwise, generate $700 billion in economic activity every year. They pay taxes that help fund new schools and infrastructure, purchase their groceries from local stores, eat in locally owned restaurants and start businesses that create more jobs. We should not knowingly be blocking their efforts to contribute to our economy.

The problem with E-Verify is that it relies on databases that the Social Security Administration says are flawed, with more than 17.8 million clerical errors. This piecemeal approach to immigration reform is not ready for prime time and must be overhauled or stopped until it can provide accurate information.

Congress should instead be focusing on a comprehensive fix to our immigration policy that goes beyond enforcement to include worker protections and bring our outdated system into line with today’s economic and social realities. Stop-gap, shortsighted enforcement measures are a poor excuse for a full-fledged immigration policy.

JAIME CONTRERAS

32BJ Capital Area director

Service Employees International Union

Washington

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