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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oregonians Speak Out Against Job-Killing E-Verify Bill

September 15, 2011

Oregonians Speak Out Against Job-Killing E-Verify Bill

Portland, Ore.—On Wednesday, members from Oregon’s faith, labor, business, civil rights and immigrant communities spoke out against E-Verify during a press conference in Portland. E-Verify, an internet based computer database run by the Department of Homeland Security, is a voluntary system used by employers to screen prospective employees. The press conference was part of the national day of against the legislation making the flawed program mandatory.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee began to review and vote on Chairman Lamar Smith's (R-TX) House Resolution 2164, the "Legal Workforce Act". HR2164 would make E-Verify mandatory and force employers to perform a computer check for every job applicant against an error-prone government database, before any American worker could start a new job. To resolve any errors, an individual would have to go through a Social Security (SSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office, a process that can take, on average, nearly 100 days

This law, if passed, would cause lawful American workers to lose their jobs or be denied employment, an increase the risk of government intrusion, drive jobs into the underground economy, deprive the government of tax revenue, and impose additional costs on small businesses—all without meeting the program's stated purpose of ending the hiring of undocumented workers.

“If E-Verify becomes mandatory, millions of lawful workers will be incorrectly flagged by the system and will have to fight through a government bureaucracy to fix their records. Simple spelling errors or one wrong number can result in a non-confirmation through E-Verify, and it can be a nightmare to get such errors fixed within overburdened federal agencies. It’s likely that a huge number of lawful workers will have their start date delayed or be denied employment,” said Kevin Díaz, Legal Director of the ACLU of Oregon.

“America needs a real solution to upgrade the obsolete immigration system. Lamar Smith's E-Verify bill seeks to remove immigrant workers out of the US economy. The bill is completely unrealistic”, said Natalie Patrick-Knox, Causa’s Portland Organizer. “Immigrant workers are an important and vital part of many industries and the US economy. The real solution is to simply figure out a fair and just way to make undocumented workers and families right by the law, and create a system they can go through, and not around, to make them full members of our society and economy."

Organizers are calling on Oregonians to call their members of Congress and urge them to vote no on the job killing legislation--HR2164.

Speakers during yesterday’s press conference included Kevin Diaz, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Javier Lara, Organizer for PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union, Jeff Stone, Executive Director of Oregon Association of Nurseries and Co-Chair of the Coalition for a Working Oregon, Promise King, Executive Director of Oregon League of Minority Voters, Ignacio Paramo, MLK Worker Center Director for VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project and Valerie Chapman, Pastoral Administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.


Causa, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Organization, is the largest Latino and Latina civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. For more information, visit


Francisco Lopez, Executive Director, 503.269.5694
Erik Sorensen, Communications Director, 503.488.0263




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