Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Amid the ongoing national debate about illegal immigration, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that our existing E-Verify system complements our physical border security measures, and likely could be enhanced more quickly.
If E-Verify were enforced faithfully, illegal immigration would cease.
Economic immigration is the principal reason for illegal immigration and visa overstays, and E-Verify enforcement would turn off the jobs magnet that powers economic immigration.
Ramped-up local enforcement of E-Verify does not have to wait on federal action. E-Verify can be implemented locally, without the blessing of feuding federal lawmakers.
Let county commissioners and/or state legislators levy onto rogue employers a small daily fine for each of their employees out of compliance with E-Verify.
Fine the employer, not the undocumented employee, $15-$25 per day per employee out of compliance.
Use the revenue generated to fund education and medical clinics, which are so often needed by dependents of foreign nationals living here illegally. The aggregate of small fines should generate a substantial revenue stream. Reserve large fines for scofflaw employers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents do not have to be involved here.
Instead, the model can be based on existing local systems of building code enforcement and workplace safety inspections.
An important spinoff benefit would be to level the economic playing field for ethical employers vs. those rogue employers who are gaming our broken immigration system.