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Growing Furor Over Undocumented Immigrants Getting Stimulus Jobs

Illegal immigrants could get up to 300,000 construction jobs financed by the federal stimulus, reports USA Today. Based on studies conducted by two conservative think tanks, whose numbers are based on the U.S. census, article reports that some 15 percent of the 2 million new construction jobs could go to immigrants without working papers.

Although immigrants’ rights advocates don’t necessarily dispute those numbers, the question is what to do about it.

Groups like the conservative Heritage Foundation and Center for Immigration Studies say their studies supports the use of E-Verify, the controversial computer system I’ve written about here. E-Verify is a federal government program that’s supposed to allow employers to quickly check the immigration status of employees and job applicants, but due to database errors can also end up blocking legal employees and even U.S. citizens from getting a job. Groups advocating an aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration are still hoping to require employers receiving stimulus money to screen all new hires using E-Verify, though they didn’t succeed in getting that provision into the stimulus bill approved by Congress.

Immigrants’ rights advocates argue that the better solution is to develop a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that would offer legal status to workers living in the United States and willing to work, obey the laws and pay taxes. They argue that will ultimately do more to stimulate the economy than spending money trying to track down and deport some 11 million undocumented immigrants.

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