Illegal Immigrants May Score Big With Stimulus

03.09.09 | FL News Team

Illegal immigrants may become the beneficiaries of the tens of thousands of jobs the economic stimulus package could produce. "USA Today" says both sides of the immigration discussion agree people in the U.S. illegally could take some 300-thousand jobs in construction. That adds up to 15-percent of the roughly two-million jobs the stimulus is supposed to create.

Studies done by the Center for Immigration Studies and the Heritage Foundation agree with the figure and say Congress is at fault. They say employers are not required to certify the immigration status of workers when they hire through a Department of Homeland Security program called E-Verify. The program allows employers to easily determine whether Social Security numbers are valid and actually belong to a person applying for a job.

Disagreeing with the figure is the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Jorge-Mario Cabrere is the director of education for that group. He says it is not possible to predict a figure with any certainty because many immigrant construction workers may have left the U.S. already, frustrated by the recession.

The House of Representatives, in its stimulus bill, did include a requirement that employers verify immigration status using E-Verify. The Senate did not include the rule and it was not included in the stimulus package signed by President Obama.

The Obama administration has also pushed back until late May a Bush administration order that required federal contractors to use the E-Verify system in hiring. It was supposed to take effect in January. The Associated Builders and Contractors and U.S. Chamber of Commerce pushed for the delay claiming E-Verify imposes a cost burden on employers.

The largest impact of illegal immigrants being hired with paychecks coming from taxpayers will be felt in California, Arizona and Texas but Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia could also see a substantial impact.