Opposing E-Verify on Constitutional Grounds

Written By Paul Henry, Floridians Against Real ID

Recently there has been a lot of promotion of the mandatory federal E-Verify program by conservatives. It is thought of as the only means by which to combat illegal immigration and employment here. As with any issue, we should fully understand the consequences of advocating it. Several people (including me) supported it until we saw the fine points of it along with some unintended consequences, and worst of all a loss of liberty for citizens (again).

Right up front, opposing E-Verify does not mean one supports open borders or illegal immigration. I do not support either. I hope this is very clear based on what I have written. If for some reason it is not, please read point #4 below.

Here are the objections I have to mandatory E-Verify and why I have them:

1) It is unconstitutional. Having read Article 1 Section 8, there is no provision for the federal government to regulate employment within the several states. Congress has no more authority to do so than they do to compel citizens to purchase health insurance. Is it for the “general welfare of the United States”? If so, this is the same argument many make for mandated health insurance. The United States is not just one person. The welfare of the United States is greatly affected by the liberty of the citizens therein. If they cannot afford to pay rent due to being compelled to buy health insurance, the welfare of the United States has suffered. If they cannot find a job due to an error in a federal program, again the welfare of the nation has suffered, as those that do have jobs will end up paying for those that do not- exactly what we’ve seen with the extension of federal unemployment benefits.

2) It increases the size and scope of government, and requires citizens to prove their eligibility (innocence). One of the principles of the Tea Party is that we want smaller and limited government with less spending. The proposed legislation for immigration reform in Florida in 2011 was a mixed bag. It greatly increased the power of the state government (and federal government by expanding/mandating E-Verify), to the point of allowing the state government to compel the firing of privately-employed workers.The E-Verify system is run by the federal Dept. of Homeland Security, so upon passage, anyone applying for a job in Florida would now need the permission of this agency to work.

In a related issue, the DHS Secretary was given virtually unlimited power in the REAL ID Act as to when a REAL ID compliant license would be required. It bothers me when I see these principles (or our Constitution) disregarded because ______ (pick one: illegal immigration, prescription drug abuse, septic tanks, driver’s licenses, etc.) is such a large problem, we have to do something, even if it greatly expands the government and violates the constitutions of the USA and/or Florida.

Full Blog from Florida 10th Amendment Center- http://florida.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2011/06/opposing-e-verify/