Senate State Affairs Holds E-Verify Hearing

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Sen. Mike Jorgenson, a Republican from Hayden Lake, is presenting his pared down but formerly sweeping anti-immigrant bill, SB 1303 this morning to the Senate State Affairs Commitee.

The heart of the bill, according to Jorgenson, would force all Idaho employers to use the federal E-Verify program, which screens workers against Social Security and immigration databases. Jorgenson said that 683 or 715 Idaho employers already use the system voluntarily.

While Jorgenson read off a list of Idaho employers, large and small, using the system, it is not widely used across the nation. According to a 2008 opinion from the conservative CATO Institute, less than one percent of U.S. employers use it. If all employers used it, the consequences would be annoying at best, but disastrous at worst, CATO argued:

This would make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to work, of course, but it would have the same effect on American citizens. Victims of identity fraud today encounter financial difficulties; under national E-Verify, they would be unemployable.

And a recent DHS study, reported on FOX News , showed that more than half of illegal workers who are run through the system are actually cleared to work.

Sen . Michelle Stennett asked how that even helps Jorgenson's stated goal of using Idaho law to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Jorgenson's guest, attorney Kris Kobach, is walking the committee through the technology of E-Verify right now. Kobach defended Arizona's mandatory E-Verify law to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a law that he said was pushed by Russell Pearce, cousin of Idaho Sen. Monty Pearce, who sits on the State Affairs Committee.