The shutdown has frozen the E-Verify program, a web-based system that lets employers quickly check whether a new hire may legally work in this country.
We who follow immigration policy closely know that the wall is a dumb idea. Closing much of the government over it is dumber still.
Why is the wall a dumb idea? It would be expensive. It’d be unsightly. It’d be environmentally destructive. More to this point, it’d be ineffective.
First off, an estimated 40 percent of those here illegally arrived as tourists, as students or on other business but have overstayed their visas. A physical wall would have no impact on people like them.
Secondly, foreigners with thousands to pay smugglers to get them into the United States will find a way. In any case, a wall spanning the border with Mexico — be it stone-age or iron-age — would be a primitive response in the era of electronic surveillance.
But why does closing much of the government make immigration enforcement harder? Because the shutdown has frozen the E-Verify program. E-Verify is a web-based system that lets employers quickly check whether a new hire may legally work in this country.
The vast majority of foreigners entering this country come for jobs. Turn off the jobs magnet for those without the proper papers and their numbers would shrink radically. That makes an E-Verify-type program the most serious means of curbing illegal immigration.
Thing is, use of E-Verify is generally voluntary in all but a few states. So why don’t President Donald Trump and other wall-obsessed Republicans demand that all employers use it? Excellent question.
By Froma Harrop for THE SEATTLE TIMES
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