Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed legislation to fight the illegal-alien invasion at the southwest border. The proposal mandates that all Florida businesses use E-Verify [Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Legislation to Counteract Biden’s Border Crisis, FlGov.com, February 23, 2023]. It’s good as far as it goes, but only one step in the right direction. E-Verify has problems, although not the ones we hear about (the minimal false positives Alex Nowrasteh and the National Immigration Forum complain of). DeSantis should know that E-Verify is not as effective as it’s touted to be. Those who back it must also find ways to counteract illegals and employers who wiggle around it.
DeSantis had already required that all state and local agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors, to use E-Verify to stop them from hiring illegals. Also helping is his Executive Order that stops state agencies from helping resettle illegals in Florida. Both were good ideas.
But E-Verify can fail because of government-issued Employment Authorization Documents, known as EAD cards. Asylum and refugee applicants and U-Visa recipients—non-immigrant visas for crime victims who help the cops—can apply for them.
But note that those asylum-refugee applicants who receive the cards might not succeed in their application.
And needless to say, U-Visa is riddled with fraud. All visas invite some fraud, but the U-Visa is especially notorious. All an illegal need do is head for the police precinct and claim to be a crime victim, and snap, Uncle Sam stamps another U-Visa. Police are simply supposed to accept an illegal’s word that he’s a victim. And of course, we know an illegal would never lie for a free pass to stay on the sacred Magic Dirt!
In his piece about California’s legislation that will permit illegals to become cops, VDARE’s Federale discussed at length why illegals can work in the country legally. An EAD, he explained, “does not turn an illegal alien into a legal alien,” and “DACA recipients are illegal aliens despite retaining employment authorization.” Simple fact is, once any alien has an EAD card, he can work in the country legally. And many aliens assume they can stay in the country indefinitely—meaning forever—and don’t bother appearing for their immigration hearings.
I’ve arrested illegals with EAD cards, by the way. Some knew they were in the country illegally and were hoping I would be fooled by it. Others, again, thought the card entitled them to be here as if it were a Green Card.
Consider this scenario: An illegal claims asylum and receives an immigration court date, which can be more than a year down the road. He receives an EAD card, but the expiration date is past the court date. Thus, he skips the hearing, is ordered deported in absentia, yet still has a valid EAD card and can still work legally. Or at least an employer thinks he can.
So an employer who sees an EAD card only knows that it verifies employability with a valid expiration date. E-Verify confirms the authenticity of the card and that the employee is legally allowed to work but does not check immigration status:
E-Verify works by electronically comparing the information from an employee’s Form I 9 with records available to SSA and/or DHS to verify the identity and employment eligibility of each newly hired employee and/or employee assigned to a covered federal contract.
[E-Verify Quick Reference Guide for Employers, E-Verify.gov]
An I-9 is the employment eligibility form that every employer must fill out.
Granted, the I-9 asks for “Citizenship/Immigration Status,” but that won’t much matter if the employer lies. During the Obama Regime, Immigration and Customs Enforcement began I-9 audits. Employers had two weeks to reply. That’s plenty of time to let Juan go to another job, or, tell him to come back in a month or two.
One story I heard: ICE Special Agents went to pick up I-9 forms at a Chinese restaurant. The ICE supervisor looked around at the kitchen and asked the owner to identify one fellow at a wok. “He my uncle,” the owner said.
“OK, where’s his form?” the supervisor replied. The owner simply kept repeating “He my uncle, he my uncle.” Uncle or not, he was an illegal alien and taken into custody. I don’t know whether the employer was cited, but in any event I-9 audits do little unless someone keeps employers honest. And federal prosecutors often squash even the most obvious cases of immigration fraud.
And speaking of the Social Security Administration, it has been handing out Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers like candy. Often, the agency knowingly gives these substitute Social Security numbers to illegal aliens in the hope they will pay into the system, but return home to their Third World dumps upon retirement rather than collect their “savings.” Unfortunately for SSA, which hoped to cook its books, it hasn’t worked out. Illegal aliens are, in fact, collecting Social Security. Plus, not all of them are returning home. Initially, they had more of an incentive to return home when we were enforcing immigration laws, but because we aren’t deporting anyone, they have little to fear by staying in the U.S. Indeed, SSA provides a long list of the aliens who are eligible for Social Security and how to prove it [Spotlight on SSI Benefits for Noncitizens—2023 Edition, SSA.gov].
Probably the biggest thing that E-Verify misses: all the illegal aliens who are paid under the table. I arrested many of them. Typically something like this occurs: An alien who is Legally Approved for Permanent Residency—LAPR—is hired as a drywall subcontractor and then hires a crew of illegal aliens. The contractor pays the LAPR, who in turn pays the illegals off the books in cash. Indeed, the subcontractor might not be legitimate himself, meaning his entire business is off the books. In other cases, the LAPR subcontractor hires a combination of illegal aliens and other LAPRs and still pays the entire crew in cash or personal check.
LAPRs, by the way, can receive Social Security benefits. So can deportable aliens.
Amusingly, we are heading for a cashless society for American citizens who try to do things the right way, while unscrupulous employers are paying illegals under the table. Just as the Biden Regime permits illegals to jump the border and enter the country without vaccines against potentially fatal diseases, including Covid, it might soon find a work-around that permits illegals to be paid but not be tracked. Perhaps, they’ll receive wages in prepaid cards. The cartels, after all, use them to smuggle money into Mexico to avoid carrying cash [Drug lords and financing terrorism, how prepaid cards were between it all, by Julian Dixon, Napier, August 11, 2020].
Here’s one simple solution to the EAD problem: Prohibit all illegals, including asylees and refugees, from working in the United States and from receiving permanent legal residence, which will remove any incentive to cross the border illegally.
DeSantis is doing the right thing. Other Red State governors should follow suit.
But they shouldn’t believe that E-Verify will stop employers from hiring—and exploiting—cheap illegal-alien labor.
The author [Email him] is retired from the Border Patrol.