The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is, yet again, opposing legislation related to E-Verify and identity theft.
On Tuesday, the Chamber’s public policy director, Wesley Smith, went on the Rod Arquette show and argued against HB253 stating that it costs a lot and doesn’t help with identity theft. The Chamber knows better.
When pressed on the issue of how it would cost so much more, all he could come up with was that employees would have to go to the website to enter the new hire’s information and need some training. I assume the Chamber is well aware that the “training” requirement is minor (we’re not talking a day but more like an hour or minutes). Here is the 12 (more like 10) page document the University Of Florida uses for E-Verify training. Not a killer, not even close. The spokesman also admitted that the system does provide a rapid response.
Next, Mr. Arquette asked about identity theft. The Chamber spokesman quickly played it down saying it wouldn’t really help. That was a huge farce and the Chamber knows it. A caller correctly noted that E-Verify eliminates child identities being used…that is , unless the Chamber knows a lot of 30-year-old men who can pass themselves off as 10 year-olds and convince an employer to ignore labor laws.
The spokesman correctly noted that people could steal whole identities (ie assume the social security holder’s name, date of birth etc). However, the vast majority of identity theft for employment involves social security number only theft), as can be attested to by the Attorney General’s office. At this time, identity dealers try to steal children’s social security number or just make up a number and put it on a fraudulent document (no age/name/date of birth matching is attempted). Whole identity theft is vastly more difficult as the victim’s personal information must closely match the thief’s and is far more expensive to engage in. Will that type of theft increase? Yes, but due the the difficult nature, it is highly unlikely to increase by leaps and bounds. Furthermore, depending on the documents used for the I-9, E-Verify also requires photo matching. Good luck getting around that.
The Chamber then stated how it didn’t like government intruding into the marketplace. Really? As was also noted on the radio show, the Chamber has supported plenty of tax increases and other forms of corporate welfare (such as stimulus bills) that the government has thrown its way. They’ve supported enough for ATR to designate them “Enemy of the Taxpayer” in 2006. Thus far, I think they are the only Chamber in the country to receive the designation:
This is the first time the group, formed in 1985, has chosen a chamber of commerce as its taxpayer enemy, Norquist said. As with its “Friend of the Taxpayer” designation, the enemy is picked largely based on input from taxpayer groups. The Salt Lake Chamber was singled out, and not only by local taxpayer advocates.
The Chamber has consistently tried to block E-Verify legislation while pushing for amnesty legislation. It is no surprise, then, that they are supporting Rep. Bill Wright’s legislation which he introduced by insulting citizens and legal immigrants.
HB 253, on the other hand, was watered down but remains a step in the right direction of addressing some of the deficiencies in last year’s E-Verify bill – specifically, it will include some penalties for organizations violating verification law. Feel free to contact your legislator and ask that they support HB253 despite the Chamber’s spin.