The Wall Street Journal writes about the problems that employers are having with E-Verify, the online worker verification system run by the INS.
The problem is not that the system is too buggy, its early problems have been ironed out, and it’s not too expensive, it’s free, no, for the small businesses interviewed, the problem is that works the way that it is supposed to:
Since January, Daniel VanLoh has turned away nine new dishwashers and one line cook from his four Atlanta, Ga., restaurants within days of hiring them.
The reason: Not one was authorized to work in the U.S., according to background checks he ran on the job applicants using a federal verification system, known as E-Verify.
He says he’s now struggling to fill six openings, with some job seekers simply walking away after hearing that the company uses the free, Internet-based system to check their immigration status.
This is the way that this is supposed to work. Proper enforcement of worker verification is supposed to keep people who want to work illegally out of the job rolls.
Here is the money quote:
This month, Georgia required small employers to screen applicants with the system, a move that extended existing requirements for larger firms. At least 15 other states, including Arizona, Mississippi and South Carolina, have enacted laws in recent years requiring at least some, if not all, employers to run E-Verify checks on job applicants before hiring them. The laws don’t require employers to check existing employees.
Scott Whitehead, who operates an Atlanta landscaping service, began using E-Verify July 1. Over the past three weeks, he says he hasn’t found a single authorized worker among more than 50 applicants at his metro area firm, Unlimited Landscaping & Turf Management Inc. “Every immigrant who walks through this door is illegal” according to the online check, says Mr. Whitehead, whose firm has more than 100 employees.
He says the checks are shrinking the pool of applicants he’s able to hire. As he struggles to fill openings, existing maintenance workers, most of whom he pays about $14 an hour, are demanding higher wages.
Gee without the possibility of easily recruiting workers who are willing to live in immigration status enforced peonage, his workers are asking for more money.
BTW, Whitehead’s solution is to engage in illegal discrimination:
The system is also bringing anxieties about productivity, he says. To avoid running afoul of the new Georgia law, Mr. Whitehead plans to hire only U.S. citizens who clear the system, even though, in landscaping, he has found that immigrant workers are generally more productive.
This is a violation of the civil rights law.
You cannot discriminate against legal workers on the basis of immigration status.
Unemployment is over seven percent, and if your crappy job cannot attract legal workers at a given wage, then raise the f%$#ing wage.