Employment Verification Could Cost $40 Billion

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 04/11/2008 - 5:31pm.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nationwide employment verification system - an effort to deal with illegal immigrants and potential threats to national security - would cost $40 billion to implement and could result in more people being paid outside of the tax system.

The CBO report looked at the estimated cost to implement the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007 and found that the proposed legislation would cost taxpayers more than $40 billion over 10 years.

The bill introduced by Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) would implement a national employer verification system, known as "E-Verify," and mandate it for all new hires. It is currently poised to go directly to the House floor.

"E-Verify is bad policy for both employers and employees, and now we discover it would also be bad for taxpayers and senior citizens, costing more than $40 billion in lost tax and Social Security revenue," said Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"With less than 1 percent of employers participating in the optional verify program currently in place, it has already faced staggering bureaucratic problems," Sparapani said.

"Halting the expansion of such a system should be a no-brainer politically for any member of Congress hoping to keep their job. Retiring members voting for the bill would do well to remember they, too, could face ridiculous hiring delays of an E-Verified workforce," he said.

"The CBO's estimate should signal to House members that the Shuler-Tancredo E-Verify bill is the wrong approach to immigration policy. E-Verify should be scrapped," Sparapani added.

Roy Beck, CEO of the "immigration reduction" group Numbers USA, however, said the legislation is "worth the money."

"I would say that nothing that has been done so far comes close to being as important as what SAVE Act would do," he told Cybercast News Service.

"The number one thing that you could do is not at the border, but taking away the jobs from illegal aliens. That's primarily what it does. It makes it over a four-year period almost impossible for an illegal alien to hold a legitimate job," Beck said.

"Illegal aliens under this law would still be able to grab these really lousy underground economy jobs," he said. "But, in terms of legitimate jobs where they are taking these jobs away from American workers - that would pretty much come to an end after the four year phase-in."

According to the report, the legislation would result in lost federal revenue of $17 billion over 10 years because more undocumented workers would be paid outside the tax system.

"It's kind of hard to believe that such a massive amount of corporations would decide to deliberately, willfully break the tax laws," he said.

Beck also said the numbers were suspect because the estimates were high and "didn't include any of the savings ... to American taxpayers once millions of illegal aliens leave because they can't get a job," referring to education, crime enforcement, and court costs.

"A mandatory national EEV (Employment Eligibility Verification) system would have substantial costs yet still fail to prevent illegal immigration," countered Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, in a policy paper. "It would deny a sizable percentage of law-abiding American citizens the ability to work legally."

"Deemed ineligible by a database, millions each year would go pleading to the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration for the right to work," he said. "By increasing the value of committing identity fraud, EEV would cause that crime's rates to rise."

Harper noted that "creating an accurate EEV system would require a national identification (ID) system, costing about $20 billion to create and hundreds of millions more per year to operate."

"Even if it were free, the country should reject a national ID system," he said. "It would cause law-abiding American citizens to lose more of their privacy as government records about them grew and were converted to untold new purposes."


Monisha Bansal - CNSNews Senior Staff Writer - April 10, 2008 - posted at www.cnsnews.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 04/11/2008 - 5:31pm.