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U.S. Hispanic Chamber Agrees Mandatory E-Verify Is Bad For The Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 9:02 PM Eastern - Friday, June 17, 2011

Gebe Martinez gebe.martinez@seiu.org 202-730-7152 or Jackeline Stewart jackeline.stewart@seiu.org 202-730-7739

U.S. Chamber of Commerce "threw small businesses under the bus," says SEIU's Medina

WASHINGTON, D.C. - SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina and International Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman laud the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for opposing mandatory E-Verify legislation introduced this week by immigration restrictionists led by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tx.

The Instead of trying to grow new jobs, the Smith bill would further cripple the teetering economy by mandating that all employers use an error-ridden government data base to check workers' eligibility. This new and expensive government mandate is especially harmful for small businesses and for workers, who would be treated as guilty until proven innocent if the bureaucracy and government computer make an error.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber and other members of the National Hispanic Leadership Organization noted in a signed statement of opposition to the bill that the last thing this economy needs is a new government burden on businesses.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber is rightly standing up for the small businesses that would be most impacted, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is representing the interests of big business corporations, Medina said.

"I think [the U.S. Chamber] threw small businesses under the bus. They threw immigrants under the bus. They threw everybody under the bus in order to pursue their own interests," Medina said during a telephonic press conference with the news media on Thursday. Bloomberg has estimated the cost to small business would be $2.6 billion over 10 years.

Meanwhile, all 17.8 million government employees at the local, state and federal levels of government as well as those who work for government contractors would have to be reverified.

The agriculture industry would be the hardest hit since an estimated three-fourths of the workers are unauthorized. Ackerman pointed to the difficulty Georgia farmers are having harvesting their crops in the wake of a harsh new immigration law that is driving workers into the underground cash economy.

"I would very much like to know what's going to happen and whether in fact Rep. Smith will move to California or move to Georgia and start picking tomatoes or peaches to deal with the devastation that this bill will cause in the agriculture industry, the damage to the economy and the suffering to workers in the middle of this economic crisis that Republicans are willing to cause, all to move forward their ideological war against hard working immigrant families," Ackerman said.

Medina, who once worked the agricultural fields in California, spoke of the difficult labor undertaken on by immigrant workers and added: "I think that Congressman Smith, from what we know of him, is having a hard time coming to grips with the diversity in America...I think he's pursuing an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with trying to fix a problem."

Members of the news media wishing to hear the news conference can call 800-475-6701 (U.S.) or 320-365-3844 (international), and dial in the code: 207790.

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