Thomas Massie Says National E-Verify Would Be Bad for American Workers. He’s Right.
House Republicans are rallying around the Secure the Border Act of 2023, a sprawling immigration enforcement bill that will be brought up for a vote later this week. It would resume border wall construction and seek to codify the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required migrants to await their U.S. immigration court dates in Mexico.
But the bill wouldn’t just target undocumented immigrants, as Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) has pointed out. He tweeted that a section requiring employers to use E-Verify systems to verify workers’ citizenship status would be like giving the government “the ultimate on/off switch” for employment.
“I will NOT vote to require EVERY American to get [President Joe] Biden’s permission if they want to work,” Massie continued. “Giving the federal government more power over YOU is a mistake.”
Massie is right to point out the potential for government abuse. Mandatory national E-Verify would mean more government meddling in the affairs of private businesses—and more state control in general. Though it’s “being sold to you as a security measure,” former Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) argued, “E-Verify is laying the foundation for national biometric databases, [central bank digital currencies], and a social credit system, giving the state almost absolute power over your life.”
It isn’t hard to imagine that a government empowered to punish workers and employers on the grounds of citizenship status could impose similar punishments on other grounds. Just look at the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which required workplaces with over 100 employees to make workers get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Republicans rightly criticized this government overreach, but they largely fail to see how E-Verify measures could be weaponized against more than just undocumented immigrants.
National E-verify bill contains vague references to two pilot programs of non-photographic technology you must use to prove your identity to DHS in order to get a job.
What is it? Fingerprints? DNA? Retina? Why not just say it in the bill? Is E-Verify actually Patriot Act 2.0? pic.twitter.com/0vKxxkWiM3
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 9, 2023
Imposing the system at the national level makes little practical
Article from Reason.com