NCLR Denounces Legislative Proposal to Mandate a Barrier to Employment

June 14 2011


Julian Teixeira
(202) 776-1812

Washington, D.C.—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) condemns the introduction of the “Legal Workforce Act” (H.R. 2164) by Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. The legislation would require all employers in the United States to use the E-Verify program, an Internet-based system that relies on error-ridden, outdated databases to check the employment eligibility of workers. This dramatic expansion of the flawed program would have a detrimental impact on Hispanic workers who are incorrectly identified as unauthorized to work.

“This legislation is another example of putting cheap political maneuvers ahead of the interests of American workers. It will do nothing to create jobs, it will place a burden on all job-seeking U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, and it will not fix our broken immigration system,” said Clarissa Martínez De Castro, NCLR Director of Immigration and National Campaigns. “At a time when we are facing an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent in the Latino community, putting obstacles between eligible workers and jobs is simply unconscionable.”

Evaluations of E-Verify as well as a fact sheet by NCLR, Dangerous Business: Implications of an EEVS for Latinos and the U.S. Workforce, have consistently found that foreign-born U.S. citizens and legal immigrants would be significantly impacted by a national employment eligibility verification system because they are 30 times more likely than native-born workers to be wrongly flagged as ineligible to work. The Latino community is further impacted because workers with “ethnic” names, regardless of their immigration status, are likely to be victims of data entry mistakes and discrimination since they are frequently perceived to be “foreign.” The “Legal Workforce Act” would increase this discrimination since it allows employers to use E-Verify before hiring an employee.

“Workers cannot afford to lose jobs in this economy because of database errors or employer misuse of a verification system, and layering the mass expansion of this flawed program on top of our broken immigration laws will neither address concerns about immigration nor solve our unemployment problem. It is time to stop playing with the issue of immigration and with the needs of the American workforce,” Martínez De Castro concluded.


Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas