WASHINGTON, D.C. — As House Speaker Paul Ryan delayed the vote on his “compromise” bill to next week, the plan to insert mandatory E-Verify and agricultural visas could challenge the bill’s prospects.
The wide-ranging bill already would provide a path to citizenship for some Dreamers, remove protections for migrant children and allow them to be incarcerated for longer periods of time, reduce legal immigration, add border measures (including funding of almost $25 billion), increase interior immigration enforcement, and make it more difficult for asylum seekers to make their claims.
“E-Verify without a way to legalize the undocumented workers in Houston will encourage everyone in the industry to increase their use of independent subcontractors and labor brokers,” said Stan Marek, Chairman and CEO of the Marek Companies, which employs more than 3,000 people in Houston and five other Southern cities. “E-Verify only impacts legitimate companies that have a W-2 payroll. In this ‘gig’ economy, even construction contractors are finding a way to avoid ICE audits, payroll taxes, and providing workmen’s compensation insurance. Mandatory E-Verify would only make it much worse.”
“We have long asked our lawmakers to help provide immigration policies that help our industry secure more legal workers and continue to grow. The pending legislation could do the opposite with provisions that further restrict our workforce, and it does not offer a solution for legal workers whose temporary protected status has an end date,” said Wendy Kallergis, President and CEO of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association.
“Jobs already outnumber workers. With its cuts to legal immigration, this bill would have a negative impact on the American workforce,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “The only way to balance E-Verify and cuts to legal immigration would be to offer a solution for people with temporary protected status and address the rest of the undocumented population.”