That’s helped dry up the jobs available to illegals, and not surprisingly, they’re going home. There are an estimated 1 million fewer illegals in the U.S. than there were last year, and the number is expected to keep on dropping as the program expands.
E-Verify got a big boost last month when a Bush-era executive order insisting that the federal government comply with the program took effect. It’s always a good idea for Washington lawmakers to subject themselves to the same laws they pass for the rest of us. That should, as Newt Gingrich insisted in the Contract with America 15 years ago, be the rule rather than the exception. In this case, it also sets a good example for employers large and small.
Of course, E-Verify can be improved. Most mistakes are correctable -- misspelled names, clerical errors in date of birth or missing naturalization data. Lawmakers should pressure the agencies involved to focus on reducing these errors. And they should stop playing politics with E-Verify and permanently reauthorize the program, instead of using it as a bargaining chip for other programs.
Not every good idea is a new idea. We’ve known for years that employers need help verifying their workers are here legally. And with a more effective E-verify and a potential overseas worker-approval program, the federal government can help employers achieve that goal. It’s just one step, but an important one.