Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do you have permission to hold that job?

From the Arizona Republic:

Following the lead of at least 11 states, including Arizona, President Bush signed an executive order requiring contractors that do business with the government to use an electronic system to ensure their employees are eligible to work in the United States.

The order, announced Monday, is unlikely to influence defense contractors who already have to confirm an employee's status to work in the United States. However, it would force a gamut of businesses to use E-Verify, the Employment Eligibility Verification Program that critics say is flawed because it doesn't detect identify theft.

Identity theft isn't the only concern, I'll add. We should all be concerned that the government is rapidly turning doing business and seeking jobs into privileges to be dispensed by government officials. Forget land of the free, this is becoming the land of "do you have permission to do that?"

Even if you think we should all have to ask "mother, may I" of government officials before we're allowed to make a living, you probably want mother's grant or denial of permission to be based on something with a degree of accuracy -- not flawed information. But last year's Westat report (PDF) on E-Verify, commissioned by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, found:

The accuracy of the USCIS database used for verification has improved substantially since the start of the Basic Pilot program. However, further improvements are needed, especially if the Web Basic Pilot becomes a mandated national program – improvements that USCIS personnel report are currently underway. Most importantly, the database used for verification is still not sufficiently up to date to meet the IIRIRA requirement for accurate verification, especially for naturalized citizens.

Most troubling: "Among U.S. citizens who received tentative nonconfirmations, approximately 10 percent (9,900) contested and were found to be work-authorized."

Wow. That's ... not good.

And yet, that's the system all new hires must go through in Arizona, and which all employees of federal contractors must go through nationally.

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Blogger Jehan said...

Just commenting on your "doing business and seeking jobs [as a] privelige to be dispensed by government"

I agree with you that people have a right to ways/means of sustenance, but I also feel that some (not too much!) government control is necessary to protect people from bad businesses- such as those that do not follow a certain level of health standards.
So yes, I think government should deny the right to ways/means of sustenance to a dirty restaurant manager, or a poorly skilled carpenter, because their shoddy work will hurt others, and it is (one of) the roles of government to protect persons from other people/corporations who mean to harm them in order to benefit themselves.

June 11, 2008 6:59 AM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...


Even granting your point for the sake of argument, I think the government is going far beyond making sure people don't endanger the public, and well into the realm of doling out the "privilege" of doing business or seeking a job.

That gives officials an awful lot of power over our ability to simply feed our families -- if we stay on the right side of the folks in office.

June 11, 2008 9:39 AM  

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