LETTER: Navarrette column didn't get it right on illegal immigration
9:00 PM, May. 20, 2011

In his column, "The GOP cannot get it right" [May 17], Ruben Navarrette was right about one thing, but it wasn't the headline. He wrote that the main reason illegal immigrants come to the United States is because of jobs. This is true, but it is the Republicans who are serious about turning off the jobs magnet that encourages illegal immigration.

We have tools to limit illegal immigration, but the Obama administration is not enforcing the immigration laws on the books. In the past two years, worksite enforcement activities have plummeted 70 percent.

Without worksite enforcement, we can't stop employers from hiring illegal workers. And if we don't stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants, we can't reduce the jobs magnet. And as long as the jobs magnet exists, millions of illegal immigrants will come to the U.S. and take jobs from lawful workers.

Contrary to Navarrette's claims, Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 instituted the basic pilot program, also known as E-Verify. While this program is currently voluntary, I support making it mandatory.

E-Verify allows employers to electronically verify that newly hired employees are legally authorized to work in the U.S. The program quickly confirms the Social Security numbers of 99.5 percent of work-eligible employees. Over 250,000 American employers voluntarily use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week. Because this program is so successful and well-liked by employers, I will introduce legislation soon to expand E-Verify and make it mandatory.

Because Navarrette disagrees with my support for pro-enforcement policies - or because he knows I am right - he has to resort to name-calling and misrepresentations. But we are a nation of laws and part of the role of government is to promote policies that reward those who follow the law, not reward lawbreakers.




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