On June 22, 2011, the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach (CCAO) along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Justice for Immigrants coalition, stormed the halls of Congress and lobbied the 37 members of the House Judiciary Committee to oppose making E-Verify a mandatory program. Working through the coalition of 30 Catholic organizations, orders and societies, including the USCCB, allowed us to represent Catholics in the US. As the largest religion in the United States and comprising 20 percent of the population, politicians listen to the opinion of the Catholic Church.
We implored members of the Judiciary Committee to oppose Representative Lamar Smith’s efforts for more immigration enforcement until the needs of the12 million undocumented immigrants living and working in our communities are addressed. The Church seeks comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path to earned citizenship, while restructuring the failed US policies that lead to the current crisis.
E-Verify is a government program that electronically checks the work authorization of new employees. Until now, except in the state of Arizona, E-Verify has been an optional program. Valuing the dignity of all undocumented immigrants, the Church found it essential to oppose E-Verify. It would also cost millions to implement while significantly reducing the tax revenue produced by immigrants. The inaccuracy rate of false-positives, would lead to roughly 3 million Americans being mistakenly labeled “unauthorized to work.” At a time when the government is trying to create jobs and reduce the deficit, mandatory E-Verify would inhibit the recovering economy.
CCAO will continue to follow-up with our Senators and Representative as E-Verify will be debated and discussed in the next few months. Hopefully we can leave a lasting impression on Congress and ensure citizens and non-citizens are not harmed by mandatory E-Verify.