Commentary

The E-Verify bill is bad for immigrant families in Pa. | Opinion

June 22, 2019 8:10 am

Photo via PxHere

By Amaha Kassa

This has been a bad week for immigrant families in Pennsylvania (“Despite Immigration Concerns” 6/17). On Monday, Pennsylvania House Democrats helped pass a bill that would institute the dangerous and discriminatory E-Verify program in the construction industry.

Instead of protecting Pennsylvania’s working people, E-Verify actually complicates workers’ lives with a new form of potential discrimination.

Studies have shown that E-Verify often harms legal immigrants, U.S.-born Latinos, and anyone with a hyphenated last name (generally married women). The Cato Institute has calculated that over half a million qualified workers have lost their jobs because of these mistakes.

As a national organization of immigrants from Africa across the country, including many in Pennsylvania, we often see our members wrongly flagged because they have difficult or unusual names that are recorded incorrectly.

We’ve come to expect this kind of targeting of immigrant communities from the Trump Administration, which just this week threatened to deport millions of immigrant families. But we expect better from elected officials who call themselves friends of immigrants and working people. Will our real friends please stand up and say “Enough”?

Amaha Kassa is the executive director of African Communities Together, a New York City-based advocacy group. 

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