In a column last week, former congressman Ron Paul expounded upon the potential dangers of implementing an E-Verify system with immigration legislation. His words speak for himself, but there are three critical points to consider:
- Currently, the E-Verify system is voluntary. With this legislation, all employers would be required to run their potential employees through the database to ensure their legality. The system is one of the better-run services in the federal government, and therefore has its perks. But as with most things in life, there’s a trade-off: Anytime the government mandates that the private sector take part in an activity, the government grows in scope and power.
- The information gathered by the proposed E-Verify system in the legislation will go far beyond Social Security numbers and immigration data, and include things like biometric data, as well as other government-held data. In addition to the biometrics, citizens will be required to have a “tamper-proof” Social Security card, essentially a national-ID. This creates privacy concerns among many civil libertarians for obvious reasons.
- Mandatory E-Verify participation opens the door to a host of other potential uses by the federal government. With Obamacare about to kick into high gear, there would be little to stop a president or a federal agency to require its use in the health care industry for the purposes of the insurance mandate. Gun legislation could be brought forth that requires E-Verify in the transaction process of purchasing a weapon, ammunition, or other accessories. Could a corrupt administration use the system against their political enemies? The possibilities are far-reaching.
The E-Verify system, in its current state, is useful. I know a number of businessmen who use it in their day-to-day and herald it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. By running these potential employees through the database against their provided Social Security number, the program eliminates all legal burden on the business-owner and puts it squarely in the hands of the federal government. Any changes to the program would stifle hiring and irrevocably damage individual liberty and privacy. We should be wary of any additional features to the E-Verify system in the future as the immigration debate continues.
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