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E-Verify is bad news for Iowa

E-Verify is bad news for Iowa

Sandra Sanchez

Sandra Sanchez is director of AFSC's Immigrants Voice Program in Des Moines, Iowa. (file photo)

Photo: AFSC / Jon Krieg

[On February 21, 2012, the Iowa House Judiciary Committee passed House File 2156, a bill penalizing employers in Iowa who hire undocumented workers. The bill requires employers to use a national E-Verify program to screen potential workers. Sandra Sanchez, AFSC Iowa Immigrants Voice Program Director, explains below and via this five-minute audio why this is bad news for Iowa.]

Iowa state representative Julian Garrett is wrong when asserting that E-Verify’s accuracy has improved steadily. Say that to my sister and my son who for months were unable to get employment due to a report from the system that read “tentative-non-confirmation,” or TNC.

What does that mean to an employer or an employee?  Nothing other than “there is a discrepancy between the information provided to the employer and what the system is reporting.” After months of red tape, my sister found out that it was a dash in her social security card -- a dash that her legal permanent resident card didn’t have.

My son found out that the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported he was a legal resident instead of a naturalized citizen; he is indeed a naturalized citizen but his employers considered that he had lied in his application.

In my sister’s case neither the SSA nor Immigration Services wanted to change her cards. The consequences are still felt by both my sister and my son.

The Immigration Policy Center reported that in the FY 2009, 211,000 new hires received a TNC. Furthermore, it costs small businesses as much as $127 to run an employee through the system.

E-Verify poses an economic burden on both employers and employees. In addition, Rep. Garrett’s bill includes penalties to businesses. Does he want to take further down Iowa’s economy? The full Iowa House and Iowa Senate need to reject such anti-immigrant and anti-business proposals. E-Verify would prevent thousands of innocent Iowans from being employed and it would foster unintended employer discrimination. Simply put, that is wrong!