Extreme Anti-Immigrant Legislation Threatens Business, Workers and Families



The following is a statement of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR):

 Rather than pursuing real solutions for our broken immigration system, Congressman Smith and his colleagues are pushing a radical enforcement agenda that attacks businesses and workers without making our nation any more secure or prosperous.

 The deeply flawed E-Verify program will add $2.7 billion in costs to American businesses struggling through the current economic climate.  Small businesses will bear the overwhelming majority of this burden.  “E-Verify will make my work much more complicated,” said Billy Lawless, Chicago-area restaurant owner, leader of the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, and ICIRR board member.  “It makes no sense to pile more costs onto small businesses like mine that are driving our local and national economy.”

 The inaccuracies in E-Verify will hinder businesses and workers alike.  As many as 3.6 million workers will be required to miss work time as they try to confirm that they are indeed lawfully authorized to work, and 770,000 will lose their jobs.  Such disruption would result from E-Verify’s ongoing inaccuracy and its vulnerability to name mismatches due to multiple or hyphenated names, identity theft, and employer fraud.  Mismatches in the E-Verify databases also leave employers still vulnerable to immigration enforcement even if they rely on the program to sort out whether their employees are authorized to work.

 Immigrant workers who lose their jobs because of E-Verify, many with US citizen family members, will be forced to find other means of providing for their families.  Many of these workers will resort to the underground cash economy, where they will be even more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.  Arizona, which enacted a mandatory E-Verify law in 2008, saw a large growth in its cash economy and a 13% drop in its income tax revenues that year.  Requiring E-Verify nationwide will drive even more workers underground and further drive down wages and tax revenues.

 Disrupting businesses, firing workers, driving immigrants underground, and tearing apart families will only worsen our nation’s economic and immigration difficulties.  Still more enforcement makes no sense without a sensible way for undocumented immigrant workers and families to gain legal status so they can work, pay taxes, and contribute to our economy.  Our country needs real solutions to get all workers onto the tax rolls, restore the rule of law, and fix our broken immigration system.  E-Verify will only make the situation worse for all Americans.


The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of 138 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

 For more information on the E-Verify bill, contact Catherine Salgado at [email protected].