E-Verify For You
2160 E. Fry Blvd., Suite 242
Sierra Vista AZ 85630
May 12, 2008
Open Letter To: Mark Pelavin, Associate Director, RAC (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)
With copies to Ben Weyl and Sean Thibault of the RAC
Dear Mr. Pelavin:
As a Department of Homeland Security Designated Agent, I believe I am fully qualified in addressing your misinformation regarding the SAVE Act's E-Verify program.
But first, to make myself "bullet proof" from any accusations that my criticism of your piece is motivated by racism or xenophobia, here is some background about myself:
I am a 72 year old first generation Jewish American. My native language is Yiddish which I still speak to this day. My parents immigrated from Poland in 1930 to leave anti-Semitism and pogroms behind. Many more of my family left Europe by way of smoke stacks.
My wife is a naturalized U.S. citizen who herself immigrated in 1989 from Mexico illegally. While I myself am a Reformed Jew, my family is diversified. I have received two awards from the Latin American Civic Association's Van Nuys Head Start Preschool in Los Angeles.
Now let's talk about the facts:
Your criticism of the E-Verify program implies that you desire to protect the jobs of "legitimate" workers. But your piece appears to have a hidden agenda to actually protect the jobs of "illegal" workers.
But I will give you the benefit of the doubt and argue against only your claim that you are concerned about legitimate workers losing their jobs if the SAVE Act is made into law.
In his email to me, Ben Weyl answering on your behalf, stated that millions of incorrect files would cause "chaos" to the American work force who would swarm to the Social Security Administration to correct records. That might have been a good argument if he hadn't presented his (and your) solution -- "Smart, comprehensive reform."
There are an estimated 12 to 20 million illegal alien workers presently in the U.S. "Smart, comprehensive reform" would require those 12 to 20 million illegal workers to turn in their bogus documents to the Department of Homeland Security and declare their true identity (so we know who they are) and then show up (along with the millions of legal workers with social security errors that you speak of) at their nearest Social Security Office to apply for new valid social security cards. How much chaos do you think that would cause?
The authors of the SAVE Act have designed it to prevent a "run" on the Social Security Administration (what Mr. Weyl describes as "chaos") by phasing in the E-Verify program in steps:
Large Employers that employ 250 or more individuals would have to use E-Verify within one year of its enactment.
Employers that employ 100 or more individuals would have to use E-Verify within two years of its enactment.
Employers that employ 30 individuals or more would have to use E-Verify within three years of its enactment.
And all employers that employ one or more individuals must use E-Verify after four years.
Even in the worst case scenario, forewarned legitimate workers would have one year to fix any social security errors before E-Verify even kicked in. Does that sound unreasonable?
Your claim that millions of legal workers, including U.S. citizens, could lose their jobs by mistake holds no water. The E-Verify program was specifically designed to protect existing workers (legal and illegal) from being fired. Under the E-Verify rules, queries on existing workers are not allowed. E-Verify queries can only be made for new hires. And those businesses who use illegal workers would have no incentive to misuse the E-Verify program to weed out existing illegal workers because that would defeat their reason for wanting to hire them in the first place.
For employers that misuse E-Verify, there are stiff penalties. And there are plenty of immigration lawyers chomping at the bit to make legitimate workers who were wrongly fired, rich.
In running an E-Verify query when I hired my Mexican immigrant wife who is a naturalized U.S. citizen for my own business, she was flagged as Tentatively Unconfirmed because the Department of Homeland Security could not confirm her claim that she was a U.S. citizen. Under the E-Verify rules, I had to give my wife eight government business days to fix the record -- she fixed it the next day when she presented her U.S. Citizenship Certificate to the Social Security Administration in Douglas, AZ. The problem was traced to her not having notified the Social Security Administration that she had become a U.S. citizen.
Your allegation that E-Verify will drive undocumented immigrants further underground.is irrelevant to this issue. What good will going underground do for undocumented immigrants if they can't get a job? More likely, the desired effect of the E-Verify program will be self-repatriation.
If you were really concerned about mistakes in legal workers records, you would be pushing work verification programs as a public service because it notifies legitimate workers whose cases were erroneously flagged as unauthorized, to make the correction now, rather than when they reach the age of 65 and find out they haven't been credited for decades of work.
Hal Netkin (E-Signed)
CC: Heath Shuler, U.S. Representative
Brian Bilbray, U.S. Representative
Roy Beck, NumbersUSA
Dan Stein, Federation for American Immigration Reform
Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies
Russell Pearce, Arizona State Representative
Posted on WatchdogAmerica.com
NOTE: Not long after the above letter was written, house speaker Nancy Pelosi killed the SAVE Act by preventing it from going to Committee. No reason was given.