Council's wrong on immigrant worker verification

February 02, 2010

Imposing harsh "enforcement-only" measures like the flawed "E-Verify" system on immigrant workers without fixing our broken immigration system will only make matters worse by pushing undocumented workers deeper into the shadows -- something that benefits only the most unscrupulous off-the-books employers. ("E-Verify urged for Baltimore County," Feb. 2.)

The E-Verify verification system that Baltimore County Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr. wants to impose on Baltimore's workers and businesses is not the solution to our broken immigration system. According to the Social Security Administration's own internal reports, this system could misidentify as many as 3.6 million workers a year, which would lead to unfair firings of thousands of citizens and legal residents in Baltimore County.

If Mr. John Olszewski and E-Verity supporters want to protect American workers, they should call on the Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform rather than penalize the hard working men and women that are already part of our communities.

Fixing our immigration system is not just the right thing to do for immigrant workers; it's the right thing to do for all workers and for our economy.

Jaime Contreras, Washington

The writer is capital area director for 32BJ, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

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