Tuesday, October 18, 2011

California Does It Again

California is one of the states suffering from a huge illegal immigrant problem. California Democrats generally refuse to admit that there is such a problem, or even such a thing as an illegal immigrant. But on those rare occasions when they do admit both, their focus is always on businesses which hire illegals rather than the illegals themselves.

They are at least partially wrong philosophically, but punishing employers who hire illegals and taking steps to prevent further illegal immigrant hiring are excellent ideas. Cut off the potential of employment and you eliminate one of the major sources of illegal immigration. The broadest and most effective way of doing this is E-Verify. Legislation is pending before Congress to establish nationwide mandates requiring employers to utilize E-Verify.

In California, fifteen cities and counties have enacted mandatory E-Verify since 2007. The governmental agencies instituted the requirement from as little as using it solely for city/county employees to revocation of business licenses for private employers who do not use E-Verify. The cities are Mission Viejo, Temecula, Murrieta, Riverside, Santa Maria, Lake Elsinore, Wildemar, Lancaster, Palmdale, San Clemente, Escondido, Menifee, Hemet, San Juan Capistrano, Hesperia, Norco, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Simi Valley. San Bernardino County is the only entity to require E-Verify on a county-wide bases.

In addition, six other cities have drafted legislation requiring E-Verify and were ready to vote. Then the boom fell. Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown and the open borders Democrats who run the state passed a statewide law prohibiting governmental agencies at any level from mandating E-Verify. After all, what's the point of being an illegal immigrant getting in-state tuition, grants and scholarships if you can't get a job after graduation because of E-Verify?

Ted Wegener, who played a major role in getting E-Verify passed for San Bernardino County, says: "It is very disappointing when you spend all the time, you go to your elected representatives and you get them to do something, and then at the higher level they squash you." Wegener's group, the Inland Empire Conservative Activists, was on its way toward getting E-Verify passed for Riverside and Orange Counties as well.

The open borders crowd reached down and pulled up its usual arguments. Sara Sadhwani of the California Immigrant Policy Center said "while a handful of cities in California and a handful of states across the country have moved to mandate the use of this kind of program, it's very misguided." In other words, an effective means of drastically reducing the incentive for errant employers to hire illegals is "misguided."

Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Sunnyvale), introduced the bill to halt E-Verify because he believes it is an unnecessary burden on business. I'd like to know what "business" he is referring to. The burden is making sure that the company has at least one person (who could easily be an already-existing employee) who has access to a computer and a minimal knowledge of how to use the Internet. There are costs of E-Verify that are minimal compared to the private background checks any diligent private employer would use to determine the immigration and criminal status of a potential employee. But that doesn't stop Fong: "It is costly, time-consuming. It's unfair for big businesses and definitely for small businesses. Why make a flawed system mandatory?" Well, I guess we wouldn't want to be unfair, would we?

Naturally the supporters of the bill cited examples of how the E-Verify system "often" misidentifies U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. And of course they pulled out a poster girl named Jessica St. Pierre who was allegedly fired from her job because her name was not correctly entered into the E-Verify system. Anecdotal evidence aside, E-Verify claims to have an error rate of about 1%. Independent agencies make it more like 6% and dropping as data banks are constantly updated and improved. The concept that legitimate employees are being denied employment willy-nilly because of E-Verify is about as believable as Barack Obama's claim that his mother died because of a lack of medical insurance coverage.

I simply find it hard to believe that any reputable employer would fire a good employee after an E-Verify notification without first thoroughly checking the employee's own proof. If the employee is in fact a legal immigrant or American citizen, that's easily proven, and the information can be sent off to DHS and E-Verify for correction. A valued employee is unlikely to lose a job permanently because a clerk at a computer somewhere made an entry error.

Beside the alleged "financial burden on business," there are other costs to be considered and weighed against it. How about the cost of Medicaid and welfare programs for illegal immigrants? How about the loss in state tax revenues resulting from employers who hire illegals and pay them "under the table?" How about the cost of jobs lost for American citizens and legal immigrants? For that matter, how about the human cost of allowing unscrupulous employers to hire illegals and pay them less than minimum or comparable wages while putting them into working conditions that no citizen or legal immigrant would tolerate?

Brian Ambrose, who is an analyst in the Murrieta city manager's office, is perfectly happy with the voiding of his city's E-Verify ordinance. Says Ambrose: "We have not received a single phone call [reporting illegal immigrant hiring]--we did not believe there was ever a problem with illegal immigration here in Murrieta." Who is this mysterious "we?" The city manager system frequently ends up with the city manager's office being at odds with both the citizens of the city involved, and often misguiding the city councils which pass the ordinances. Concurrence is not causation. A lack of phone calls could mean a great many things, including the likelihood that illegal immigrants facing E-Verify knew the jig was up and it was time to get out of Dodge before they got caught.

So now, it's up to Congress. The left won't like it, but if the bill requiring E-Verify nationwide is passed, they can't complain that the states are interfering with the fed's sole power over immigration matters. Not unexpectedly, the E-Verify bill in the House of Representatives is being advanced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). But I take pride in pointing out that the former mayor of Simi Valley and now longtime Republican Representative Elton Gallegly of California is the co-sponsor.

12 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

How can this be an unnecessary burden on businesses? It's not like it takes much to run a number. That's a ludicrous argument. Plus, when have these same people ever cared about how hard something is on business? They would impose MASSIVE paperwork requirements for the environment, civil rights, taxes, etc.... yet somehow it's too much to punch in a number and get a yes or no?

This is exactly what I've come to expect of California, do something stupid and then lie about the reasons you did it. Welcome to Democratic Wonderland.

Tennessee Jed said...

since when did ludicrous arguments ever stop the left? I really hope this comes to pass and actually works. It is funny to see how the left (both sides actually) can take any topic and spin an argument that can "sound good" as a soundbite on the evening news.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Amen. Business (that thing that creates jobs) in California is weighted-down with all the federal government burdens topped by a couple hundred more that the state and cities piles on, and yet these fools claim two minutes on a computer keyboard is too much of a burden. They can't even claim it's the straw that breaks the camel's back. That camel was swaybacked for years, and is now lying gasping on the ground with a broken spine.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: The Democrats, and particularly the ruling California Democrats, are the masters of the Big Lie. Illegals, the families of illegals and the open borders loons now comprise a substantial portion of the majority of California voters. A state which well elect and re-elect people like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown, and Dianne Feinstein will believe pretty much anything they're told.

I'm waiting for their next scheme. Paying all those police officers is too great a burden on people and the economy, people need to be free, and crime is down anyway, so it's time to abolish the penal code and just let people do their own thing.

T-Rav said...

I would suggest that that Democratic rep concerned about burdens on business go to San Fran (or probably a bunch of other places in the state) and see what businesses have to suffer under there because of regulations. Oh, wait, I forgot; those are probably necessary to protect the consumer and prevent predatory business practices and blah-blah-blah...

Argh, this week is already giving me a headache.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: During my sojourns in San Francisco (almost half my life), I watched a couple of businesses disappear or relocate because of San Francisco's outrageous taxes and regulations. Little businesses you may have heard of such as Standard Oil, Levi-Strauss, the Pacific Stock Exchange, Bank of America, Peterbilt, Caterpillar, Southern Pacific Railroad, and yes, even Rice-A-Roni. Some moved to other locations in California, but most saw the trend and moved out of California entirely.

I'm sure that most of them would have stayed if it hadn't been that they foresaw that some day, decades in the future, California businesses might have to suffer under the huge burden of E-Verify.

T-Rav said...

I wouldn't care about this so much if liberal Californians weren't leaving the state in droves to escape the bad consequences of their actions, and then trying to start all over again in their new homes. Hey, you overgrown viruses! It's called "lying in the bed you made"! You should try it sometime!

patti said...

Most Texans love us some Lamar! And now that I know your guy is the co-sponsor, well just makes it sweeter.

And an error rate of 1%?! No wonder Dems oppose it; they like their error rates at least in the 60s.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Andrew has commented in the past about expatriate California liberals trying to re-make Colorado in California's image.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: The reason I said I take pride in Elton Gallegly's co-sponsorship is not just that he is a California conservative. He was the mayor of Simi Valley who appointed me to the city planning commission. I still thought of myself as a moderate Democrat by that time, but he saw a budding conservative in his midst. He took a chance, and it worked. Together we eliminated several repressive city anti-business regulations that had been instituted by the previous administration. He's also a helluva nice guy.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, yes I remember. I don't think the Mississippi Valley has caught too much of it yet, but I'm sure they're on their way. We need to push them all back out West, get South California declared independent, build a wall around the rest, and let it all collapse in on itself.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: It sounds like an excellent plan. Now all we have to do is implement it.

Post a Comment