Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Wisdom of an Inclusive Economic Stimulus Plan

The Senate's recent green light on a sweeping economic recovery package is far-reaching action that responds to the urgent and bleak reality of workers, small and large businesses. From brick-and-mortar projects to jobs, to increased human services, government support will try to temper domestic economic worries and help states and workers facing tough economic situations.

However, Senator Grassley (R-IA) has proposed an amendment that expands the E-verify program and targets undocumented workers for increased hardship. E-verify, a national employment verification system has been found consistently to contain inaccurate information and gross inefficiencies.

The proposed Grassley Amendment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will condition the receiving of funds and benefits upon the use of the e-verify system. The broadness of that amendment could require faith organizations, social service agencies, municipalities and states, health centers, large businesses and small companies to use the e-verify system. This measure would require all entities receiving recovery funds to enroll in the flawed E-Verify program for all new hires, currently meant to be voluntary. Congressional hearings and independent researchers have identified many flaws with E-Verify.

AFSC opposes any effort to hinge our nation’s economic recovery on mandatory implementation of a system proved to contain inaccuracies and cause workplace discrimination. That contradicts the legislation’s purpose and sends the wrong message at a time when Congress should focus on measures to protect all workers.

Call your U.S. Senator at 1-800-473-6711 and tell them:

  • To vote for the economic recovery bill and to oppose efforts to include a flawed anti-immigrant measure called "E-Verify."
  • De-link national immigration policy from the proposed economic recovery plan. This is a historic opportunity for the new administration and Congressional leaders to work in a bipartisan and united manner and pass an economic stimulus package that helps struggling workers, their families and businesses.
  • Urge your Senator to support a process that addresses future immigration policy in a transparent and bipartisan rather than hinging the nation’s economic stimulus recovery on immigration enforcement
*This toll-free number is provided by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization which works for social and economic justice and peace . AFSC welcomes groups to use the number in support of non-partisan work and without linking it to a website that solicits donations or actions, which may be used to support partisan lobbying or work.