Conservatives, Liberals Unite in Opposing E-Verify Bill

Prominent conservatives, including the founders of Tea Party Nation and the Washington, D.C., Tea Party, recently sent a letter to Congress expressing their opposition to pending legislation that would require all U.S. businesses to use the federal E-Verify database to determine the citizenship status of employees.

In addition to concerns that the law would create a national ID system and encourage identity theft of U.S. citizens, the letter’s signatories said they believe the law would hurt the economy by placing an undue burden on business owners, who would become “de facto law enforcement officers for the federal government.”

The letter said businesses will need to hire expensive attorneys to guard against litigation should they unwittingly hire an illegal immigrant, and will outsource jobs or substitute machines for people to avoid the “vexations and costs of compliance.” The letter cited Congressional Budget Office figures showing implementation would cost business owners $6.1 billion.

Liberal organizations also oppose the E-Verify bill, though these groups generally object on civil liberties grounds more than economic grounds.

Speaking about this rare bipartisan agreement, Michael Ostrolenk, national director of the conservative Liberty Coalition, told The Wall Street Journal, “We may disagree on many aspects of the immigration debate, but we can all agree we want to see this bill fail.”