Guest opinion: State agencies should use E-Verify
Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 2:02 pm
Oregon’s state senators and representatives during the 2012 Oregon State Legislature session have an opportunity to help unemployed Oregonians by supporting and passing House Bill 4052 (HB 4052), which is legislation requiring all state government agencies use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) E-verify system.
Sponsored by State Reps. Kim Thatcher, Jeff Barker, Vicki Berger, Katie Eyre Brewer, Sal Esquivel, Tim Freeman, Sherrie Sprenger, Jim Thompson, Gene Whisnant, and Matt Wingard, HB 4052 would put the State of Oregon more in line with the United States federal government that requires all federal agencies use the U.S. DHS CIS E-verify system.
The state legislature requiring all state agencies use the E-verify system would not be a matter of starting from scratch for the State of Oregon because all or portions of six state agencies already use the E-verify system (Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Military Department, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Corrections Enterprises, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Health Science University, and Portland State University).
The importance the state legislature passing E-verify legislation really becomes apparent when looking at Oregon’s unemployment rate for December 2011 being at 8.9 percent; ranking the state in the top fourteen of fifty states for percentage of unemployed residents; 175,830 Oregonians were unemployed. Legislators should also be aware that Oregon’s unemployed are in competition for scarce jobs with an estimated 97,000 foreign national workers illegally in the state, 4.9 percent of the state’s domestic workforce.
If Oregon’s state legislators need some convincing examples of E-verify system success stories, they won’t have to look to far because at least seventeen states — 34 percent of the states — have laws requiring their state governments use the E-verify system; nine of those states had December 2011 seasonally adjusted unemployment rates lower than Oregon: Alabama (8.1 percent); Arizona (8.7 percent); Idaho (8.4 percent); Missouri (8.0 percent); Nebraska (4.1 percent); Oklahoma (6.1 percent); Tennessee (8.7 percent); Utah (6.0 percent); and Virginia (6.2 percent).
State legislators need not look beyond Oregon for E-verify system success stories because fifteen of thirty-six Oregon county governments — 42 percent of the state’s counties — use the E-verify system (Clatsop, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill counties).
Statewide 2,787 Oregon public and private sector employers are successfully using the 98.6 percent accurate, fast response time, user free E-verify system.
The state legislature’s passage of HB 4052 requiring the State of Oregon —the largest public employer — to use the E-verify system would be far beyond being a symbolic gesture by state legislator’s voting for the legislation considering over the last four years Oregonians have suffered and continue to suffer unemployment numbers not seen since the “Great Depression.”
Oregonians should call or e-mail their state senator and representative and ask them to support and pass HB 4052, legislation requiring all State of Oregon government agencies use the U.S. DHS CIS E-verify system, so if a job opening becomes available to work for the state a qualified person with authorization to work in the country will be first in line for that job.
David Olen Cross of Salem (email@example.com) lobbies the Oregon Legislature on issues related to immigration and foreign national crime.