The federal E-Verify Program was enacted to protect our country by ensuring that employers hire only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. Passing E-Verify legislation in Rhode Island will be a positive for the state and national economies and will demonstrate the commitment of our elected officials to represent the best interests of the American citizens and legal residents they represent.
Enacting E-Verify in Rhode Island:
1) Will not harm American citizens or legal immigrants. It reinforces the integrity of our Federal Immigration Law.
2) Will not cut any social programs and will not require any tax increases – two of our primary concerns.
3) Will be a deterrent for illegal aliens to come to Rhode Island, resulting in a substantial decrease in our illegal alien population through attrition. This was evidenced immediately when E-Verify was part of former Governor Carcieri's 2008 Executive Order to control illegal immigration. Suddenly, people were not showing up for work and students were not showing up for school. This attrition alone would reclaim tremendous amounts of revenue for social service programs, ease the burden on all public safety programs (police, fire, etc.) and preserve precious funds required for uncompensated care of American citizens and legal residents at our hospitals. In addition, our state would recapture the substantial amount of funds being removed directly from our state's economy via the monthly remittances of illegal aliens to their countries of origin. It would also reduce any additional burden to the welfare assistance program that is created through the birthright citizenship of children born in the United States to illegal aliens – 350 in 2011, according to R.I. DHS figures.
4) Will make jobs available for unemployed American citizens and legal immigrants, including our returning veterans. Rhode Island's unemployment rate is over 10 percent – the third highest unemployment rate in the country.
5) Will make Rhode Island more attractive to new, reputable businesses that would be more than willing to compete in an environment that is fair and transparent to everyone, because everyone would be required to comply with our laws.
Statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security indicate that there are as many as 12 million illegal aliens currently living in our country, and of that number 7 million have jobs. This means that at least 60 percent of those illegal aliens have jobs, while millions of legal workers do not. If we apply that math to Rhode Island’s estimated illegal alien population (a median of 30,000), there could be as many as 18,000 illegal aliens taking our valuable and scarce jobs.
Currently there are 2,700-plus employers in Rhode Island voluntarily using E-Verify without any reported problems. In addition, any employers who want to obtain contracts with the federal government are already required by federal law to use the E-Verify program and to require the same participation from any independent or sub-contractors those employers may engage. Legislation is now moving through Congress to make the E-Verify program mandatory for all employers in the U.S.
RIILE firmly believes that the majority of Rhode Island’s legal residents are in complete agreement with us on E-Verify.
We appeal to Rhode Island's legal residents and American citizens to support E-Verify and tell Governor Chafee and the leaders of our General Assembly that we expect them to honor their oath of office and enforce our laws to protect our country and all of its legal residents.
Please call Governor Chafee at 222-2080, Speaker Fox at 222-2466 and Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed at 222-6655.
Terry Gorman is the executive director of RIILE.