By Stacy Washington at the Sun-Sentinel
President Trump could end the illegal immigration crisis with a single phone call — to his sons.
Eric and Don Jr., who are running the family business in their father’s stead, just discovered the single most effective way to combat illegal immigration. They recently required all Trump Organization properties to start using E-Verify, a free online tool that checks whether newly hired workers are in the country legally.
Since adopting the system earlier this year, the firm has uncovered — and subsequently fired — dozens of illegal immigrants. To fill these vacant positions, the Trump Organization raised wages to attract qualified American workers.
If Trump required all U.S. businesses to follow his sons’ lead and implement E-Verify, the border crisis would resolve itself virtually overnight. Illegal immigrants would largely stop coming once they realized it’d be nearly impossible to find jobs in the United States.
Immigrants flock here in droves searching for work. It’s impossible to know just how big of a problem illegal immigration is, but estimates are that between 10-12 million illegal immigrants reside in the country. Of those within U.S. borders, at least 8 million have jobs. That represents 5 percent of the entire U.S. workforce.
Another 1 million illegal immigrants are projected to cross the border this year alone. Most of them lack advanced English-language skills and higher educations, so they seek employment in blue-collar occupations like construction. Immigrants without high school degrees have increased the size of the low-skilled workforce by nearly 25 percent since 1996.
Less-educated American workers suffer from this abundant supply of foreign labor. Because illegal immigrants will work for lower wages, employers prefer to hire them over qualified Americans. In fact, hiring illegal workers generates up to $128 billion in additional wealth for businesses each year, according to a 2013 study by the Center for Immigration Studies.
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Americans without high school degrees would earn up to $1,500 more each year if not for competition from immigrant workers.
E-Verify would switch off the jobs magnet that attracts these illegal laborers. Employers only need to input information from a new hire’s I-9 form — including their name, birthday, and Social Security number. The system then cross-references this information with existing Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security data. Within seconds, the system determines whether a new hire is eligible to work.
Approximately 99 percent of all applicants are deemed eligible either immediately or within 24 hours. Of the 1 percent requiring further confirmation, the overwhelming majority are found to be illegal immigrants.
States like Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi already require most or all employers to use E-Verify.
The results speak for themselves. States that implement universal E-Verify mandates can reduce the number of recently-arrived illegal immigrants living within their borders by 40 percent in just one year, according to a study in the former IZA Journal of Migration.
After implementing such mandates, states experienced falling unemployment rates among legal American workers.
So far, Congress hasn’t mandated E-Verify nationwide, which explains why 90 percent of businesses have yet to utilize E-Verify. And although he promised to implement a nationwide mandate while campaigning in 2016, Trump hasn’t pushed his allies on Capitol Hill to follow through.
The president even voiced some concerns about E-Verify this spring. His chief complaint? The system is too “tough” and makes it extremely difficult to hire illegal workers.
Yes, but that’s the point. Making E-Verify mandatory nationwide would solve the border crisis and improve the lives of nearly 13 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. These struggling citizens can only hope that President Trump gives his sons a call.
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force Veteran, an Emmy nominated TV personality, and the host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right.”