E-Verify Would Cost $40 Billion, CBO Says

April 8, 2008 12:00 am

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Employer verification boondoggle will rob taxpayers of hard-earned benefits

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WASHINGTON – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the estimated cost to implement H.R. 4088, the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007, and found that the proposed legislation would cost taxpayers more than $40 billion over 10 years. H.R. 4088, introduced by Representatives Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Tom Tancredo (R-CO), would implement a national employer verification system and mandate it for all new hires. It is currently under consideration for a “discharge petition” that would allow the bill to bypass the traditional committee markup process and instead go directly to the House floor.

“E-Verify is bad policy for both employers and employees, and now we discover it would also be bad for taxpayers and senior citizens, costing more than $40 billion in lost tax and Social Security revenue,” said Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU. “With less than 1% of employers participating in the optional verify program currently in place, it has already faced staggering bureaucratic problems. Halting the expansion of such a system should be a no-brainer politically for any member of Congress hoping to keep their job. Retiring members voting for the bill would do well to remember they, too, could face ridiculous hiring delays of an E-Verified workforce. The CBO’s estimate should signal to House members that the Shuler-Tancredo E-Verify bill is the wrong approach to immigration policy.” Sparapani continued, “E-Verify should be scrapped.”

The CBO estimate, released last week at the request of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), concluded that implementing the SAVE Act would have an impact well beyond the active workforce. The legislation would result in employers and workers who now pay taxes choosing to go “off the books,” decreasing both tax and Social Security receipts by $17 billion and $22 billion respectively, over ten years. The ripple effect of such decreases could result in cuts in Social Security benefits and other federal programs.

The CBO estimate can be viewed at:

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