This week new E-Verify bills were introduced in the House and in the Senate, which would require all employers in the United States to utilize an electronic system to determine worker eligibility. In most states, the system is voluntary with some exceptions for work on federal contracts.
The E-Verify system has already been criticized by many as being costly and riddled with errors. Mandatory use of this system could be especially problematic for workers in landscape and agriculture:
“Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations with the American Nursery and Landscape Association, emphasized agricultural and seasonal workers will be hard hit under mandatory E-Verify. It will lead to unintended consequences: less overall production, fewer jobs, more reliance on exports and will drastically affect the industry that provides the foods we eat everyday, he said.
E-Verify routinely fails to detect good-faith documents and will ultimately screen out the most experienced farm workers, says Regelbrugge. “Over the years E-Verify has failed miserably.”
Growers will not survive under E-Verify and will have to switch to lower-value crops or leave farming all together, notes Regelbrugge. “It will suck the economic life blood out of the agricultural industry and negatively affect those that work to feed us,” he said.”
Well, Senator Rubio has gone ahead and co-sponsored the Senate version of the E-Verify bill introduced by Senator Chuck Grasseley. Already Senator Rubio is feeling the heat from Representative Gutierrez and advocacy organizations for his position. But this was to be expected. Senator Rubio was a tea party darling, and for at least the past year, he has been expressing a more hard line position on immigration.
While Senator Rubio likes to tell the story of his family and how his parents came from Cuba to the US to make a living, he doesn’t explain that his family benefited from an “amnesty” program. It’s hard to be “illegal” and be from Cuba because of the Cuban Adjustment Act. So in essence, the sentiment that Rubio expresses is one that Cuban exiles (immigrants) = good and other immigrants = bad.