Appropriations Bill Continues Controversial E-Verify Program
One small and largely overlooked part of the $44.1 billion Homeland Security budget that passed the Senate on Tuesday involves a provision to expand the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program, which relies on the Social Security database to verify a job applicant’s immigration status. Although the GOP lost out on its efforts to make the voluntary program mandatory for all federal contractors, the program was at least renewed for use on a voluntary basis.
Lawmakers who favor comprehensive immigration reform say they’ll approve a verification program only as part of a larger package of reforms that include some opportunities for legalization of immigrants now living and working in the U.S. illegally. Many immigrants’ advocates complain that the E-Verify program and the database it relies upon are unreliable and too often create barriers to even legal immigrants and U.S. citizens seeking employment.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) complained that a plan he favored — to require double-layer fences along 700 miles of the border with Mexico — was dropped from the Senate negotiations.