The e-verify program is one of those subtle Trojan Horses that government is so good at.
It starts with a widely perceived problem that has widespread support: that the country is full of illegal workers.
Whether or not this is actually a problem is a matter that can be debated, but that’s not actually the relevant bit. The relevant bit is that it’s popularly seen as such in many quarters.
The solution looks simple: create e-verify.
All employers are required to check citizenship/work eligibility when hiring.
It seems simple, straightforward, and people will support it because it does not harm them, it keeps others from competing with them. we’re simply solving the problem of “stop flooding into work, there are no jobs for you any more.” (Well, except in agriculture which is being carved out because no one is crazy enough to block that and let crops rot in fields or field lie fallow.)
But there is a much more subtle twist here: it’s a classic trojan framing.
You lose the minute you wheel this thing in. You have already surrendered, you just don’t know it yet. “There is this seemingly simple thing you want” is dangled, but what it’s really doing is turning a right into a privilege and gathering the power to administer that privilege into the hands of an unelected, unaccountable government agency run by people you have never heard of and probably never will.
I will remind you of Coyote’s Law: “Before granting any power to government, first imagine that power wielded by the politician you hate most, because one day, it will be.”
Try applying that here. You’re going to give a federal agency an individualized on/off switch for employment for everyone. sure, you might like this one thing that they do with it, but what else might they use it for soon?
Rep Thomas Massie speculates:
I certainly cannot disagree. My only quibble is that I fear that this is the optimistic case and that this tool will inevitably expand in use to become a full-blown instrument of social credit systems and systems of social control.
Giving the government the power to treat hiring as a privilege that they must approve has all the potential of a central bank digital currency but for jobs.
- You cannot hire her. She is an undesirable for her political views.
- You cannot hire him. You are behind on your diversity requirements.
- You cannot hire a new worker, inflation is too high.
- You cannot hire at all. We don’t like you.
Every scary thing that can be said about government-run digital currency also applies to government control over who may be hired. And if you think once they have made this a privilege managed by central control that they will not immediately start the mission creep or commence dreaming up a new crisis to justify massive expansion into some new area be it vaccines or DEI or who knows what, well, you should call your history teacher and ask for your money back.
Free association is a right. It must be retained and expanded as such.
You’ve seen the slavering desire to shift, alter and force this sort of “We get to decide who gets to go where and get what” all through government in everything from college admissions to hiring to lending.
Do you really want to hand a tool this potent to people like that and trust that they will “only use it to do nice things?” Because that seems like a very bad bet.
It’s always easy to get suckered into these things with a sympathetic use case. “We’re just banning pro-Nazi speech!” sounds fine. Few want to hear it. Fewer will stand up for Nazis. But once you grant the power for such a ban, you have given up your right to free speech.
The rest is just a negotiation about the terms of your censorship. How did you like how that went? Want to play again with your livelihood?
This is not a wooden equid that should be allowed within the gates. Not now. Not ever. No on e-verify.
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