By Felicia Persaud
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 23, 2011: In an unlikely twist of events, Conservatives and Tea Party groups have found themselves in the position of becoming bedfellows with liberals on an aspect of immigration reform. Yes you read this right!
Just like Republican candidates fighting among themselves on the issue, Tea Partyites and Conservatives have begun attacking Republicans on a bill that would impose mandatory background checks to ensure new hires are eligible to work in the United States; a move that puts them squarely in agreement with liberals and progressives.
The strange collaboration comes as House Republicans on Wednesday, September 21 approved The Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 2558, or the E-Verify bill by Rep. Lamar Smith in the Judiciary Committee that will require businesses to check new employees’ work status against a government database.
E-Verify is now a voluntary government-run program that uses Social Security numbers to check if job applicants are authorized to work in the U.S. but the bill being pushed by GOPers would mandate its use.
Last week, a coalition of 27 regional and national groups that champion less government, privacy protection and small-business interests wrote a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against the bill. The coalition included Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation.
Phillips who is strongly opposed illegal immigration now insists that the E-Verify bill should not pass since “it’s not private enterprise’s job to enforce immigration.”
Can someone say hypocrisy? The reality is that the base of businesses, including farmers, who are dependent on illegal immigrant labor yet are contributors to these movements and the conservative lawmakers, are starting to make serious noise about this measure.
And so, as usual, to placate their base, the Tea Partyites is now willing to hold its nose and switch its tune on immigration reform. Which makes what I have said in this page all along a fact – that economics will determine whether immigration reform happens in this country on not.
It is now the businesses who need immigrant labor that hold the cards and have the sway on this issue. They are the ones feeling the pinch of the enforcement crackdown – with less and less migrant workers available to work the farms and do the work Americans will not.
Now they are turning the heat up on their lawmakers as they should and they are responding with the division within the ranks leading to unlikely bedfellows in D.C. The time is now to keep up this pressure to ensure immigration reform that allows for the many undocumented workers in this country to obtain a work permit and travel document in order to be able to come out of the shadows that they have been living under for far too long.
The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.