In the hours leading up to House Judiciary Committee’s final vote that passed the Legal Workforce Act by a 22-13 margin, Howard Berman (CA-28) made a comment that revealed the determination of the Congressional open borders advocates. During his 28 years in the House, Berman has been as dedicated to passing an amnesty as Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith has been to enforcing immigration laws.
According to Berman, E-Verify legislation doesn’t make sense as long as there are millions of illegal immigrants in the country. In other words, it’s more important to Berman that millions of aliens get and keep jobs than it is to improve the employment prospects for the 23 million Americans who want but cannot find full time jobs.
Berman, like the other 13 Democrats who voted "no" on H.R. 2885 late Wednesday afternoon, have it backwards. The roughly 7 million working aliens and those thousands more considering applying for the handful of jobs that may become available is exactly the reason mandatory E-Verify is necessary.
H.R. 2885 would require all employers to use E-Verify within 2 years for all non-agricultural new hires while requiring federal, state and local agencies to check current employees within 6 months.
In what Capitol Hill observers considered to be one of the day’s most rewarding moments, Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (CA-16) "poison pill" amendment which she offered in an attempt to strike Section 6 that preempts state-passed E-Verify mandates while allowing the states to retain their authority over business licensing narrowly failed 16-to-18.
Earlier this week, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) made a much more accurate assessment than Berman’s of the relationship between the jobs shortage and the illegal alien overage when from the House floor he said:
"There is a surefire way to create jobs now for American citizens. Evict all illegal aliens from America and immediately open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans. The eviction of illegal aliens from America has the side benefit of eliminating the abundance of cheap, illegal alien labor which, in turn, forces blue collar wages up, thus helping American families afford and pursue the American dream."
In a Judiciary Committee press release sent out immediately after the victorious vote Chairman Smith said:
"Twenty-three million Americans are unemployed or can’t find full-time work. At the same time, seven million people are working illegally. These jobs should go to American citizens and legal workers. The unemployment rate in the black community is 17 percent and among Hispanics it’s 11 percent. Anyone who cares about helping unemployed Americans should care about opening up jobs for them.
"The Legal Workforce Act could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by requiring employers to use E-Verify. It makes no sense to rely on the paper-based, error-prone I-9 system when a successful, web-based program is available. Today it takes an unemployed American nine months to find a job. With E-Verify, we can open up a new job in one to two minutes."
Legal Workforce Act supporters expect a quick and favorable vote from the full House and the Senate so that it can reach President Obama’s desk before year end.