Ira Mehlman

As president, Mr. Obama should fully implement his predecessor’s executive order requiring that companies being paid by the public serve the public interest by employing only legally authorized workers. With hundreds of billions, even trillions of dollars in federal contracts at stake, employers would have a real incentive to participate in the E-Verify program and, in doing so, ensure that American workers benefit from new public spending.

As an added benefit, the widespread use of E-Verify would increase the likelihood that billions of dollars are spent in the communities where the work is being done. Illegal aliens not only take jobs that Americans want and need, but a sizeable portion of their incomes flow directly out of our economy in the form of remittances sent to relatives abroad. Money earned by American workers would likely be spent locally, supporting, rejuvenating, and expanding local economies.

The best employment authorization system is of little use if the government is not prepared to enforce laws against employers who hire illegal aliens. Even before the bottom fell out of the economy and millions of American workers lost their jobs, Sen. Obama spoke emphatically about the need to hold employers accountable.

As president, he will have the opportunity to protect American jobs by maintaining and expanding current efforts to crack down on employers who deny much-needed opportunities to American workers by hiring illegal aliens. Without creating a single new job, the Obama administration could free-up millions of existing jobs by enforcing employer sanctions laws.

With 10.3 million workers in the U.S. officially unemployed, and nearly 20 million additional workers involuntarily relegated to part-time employment, job creation will clearly be the Obama administration’s most pressing priority. Who fills those jobs must also be of concern to the new administration. Reauthorization and expansion of E-Verify and vigorous government enforcement against businesses that employ illegal aliens would go a long way toward making certain that new and existing jobs are filled by American workers instead of illegal aliens.

Ira Mehlman

Ira Mehlman is the Media Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.