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Smith: E-Verify Could Open Up Jobs

Richard Schmidt doesn’t get the facts right in his July 29 guest observer, Worker Visa Is a Must for E-Verify Plan. We could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans and legal workers by requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. And that’s no myth.

E-Verify is free, quick and easy to use. It takes only one to two minutes and individuals eligible to work are confirmed 99.5 percent of the time. According to a recent poll, 82 percent of likely voters think all businesses should be required to use E-Verify.

Critics of E-Verify claim illegal immigrants hold jobs that Americans won’t do. But in every industry, jobs are held by U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. Statements that Americans are not willing to do these jobs demean the hardworking Americans who actually do this work on a daily basis.

Some agricultural growers seeking seasonal labor face difficulty in attracting American workers, but my E-Verify bill has a longer phase-in for agriculture. And it doesn’t apply to current employees, only future employees. This means that current seasonal agricultural workers can continue to be employed by current employers on a seasonal basis.

The current H-2A guest worker program does need to be dramatically reformed or replaced to better meet the needs of those who grow our crops. The House Judiciary Committee already has had one hearing on the H-2A program, and I plan to introduce a bill soon that will address the needs of the agriculture industry.

— Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), House Judiciary chairman

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