Oregon employers should use E-Verify


Mail Tribune

Oregon employers should use E-Verify

August 16, 2011

By David Olen Cross

Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, in a recent Eugene Register-Guard editorial republished in the Mail Tribune under the title, “Not ready for prime time, E-Verify should not be mandatory until Washington gets it right” says he doesn’t like legislation (HR 2164) now before the U.S. Congress that would require all employers in the country to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system.

Unapologetically in various media outlets across the state, Jeff Stone has stated that 70 percent of OAN members’ employees are undocumented workers.

A group of business organizations called the Coalition for a Working Oregon, OAN being a member organization, commissioned a study in 2008 that purported CWO membership employs 97,000 undocumented workers in the state.

Stone, a spokesperson for both OAN and CWO, needs a U.S. federal employment law reality check; U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States — U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in the country.

The importance of Oregon employers being required to use the E-Verify system really becomes apparent when looking at Oregon’s unemployment rate in June 2011: 9.4 percent. That means 195,422 Oregonians were unemployed. The June unemployment rate for Jackson County was much higher at 11.4 percent; 12,182 of the county’s residents were unemployed.

According to Oregon Employment Department, the June 2011 civilian labor force was 2,007,028. Using the 2008 CWO study’s purported employment number of 97,000 undocumented workers, CWO membership business organizations’ undocumented workers would make up approximately 4.8 percent of the Oregon June 2011 civilian labor force.

Removing 97,000 undocumented workers from Oregon’s civilian labor force (subtract the 97,000 undocumented workers from the 195,422 Oregonians who were unemployed) could theoretically lower the number those unemployed Oregonians legally able to work in the state to 98,422, an unemployment rate of just over 4.9 percent.

Unemployed Oregonians who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in country should not have to compete for jobs with undocumented foreign national workers illegally in the state.

If all Oregon businesses not currently using the E-Verify system were required to use it, Oregon’s unemployment rate would drop dramatically because all new jobs created in state would go to U.S. citizens or those legally present to work in the country.

Currently more than 2,000 Oregon businesses and government entities are successfully using the E-Verify system. At least 99 Jackson County businesses are using it.

Oregonians should contact U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden and ask them to support the passage into law of HR 2164, which would require all U.S. businesses and government entities to use the E-Verify system so all 195,422 unemployed Oregonians who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in the country can go back to work.

David Olen Cross of Salem writes on issues related to foreign national crime and immigration. He can be reached at docfnc@yahoo.com.



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