Most of the 15 states that have mandated use of the E-Verify system since financial collapse in 2008 have outpaced the rest of the nation in improvements to the unemployment rate, according to a study released Thursday.
The study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which favors tighter restrictions on immigration, used a less commonly cited unemployment statistic called U-6 that includes “marginally attached” workers and part-time workers who would like to work full-time.
All but one of the 15 states experienced a drop in the unemployment rate one year after adopting the new E-Verify rules. Twelve of them experienced a drop in the unemployment rate that exceeded the national average. States that mandated E-Verify experienced the biggest decreases.
Created in 1996 and implemented in 1997, E-Verify assists employers in making sure that new hires are eligible to work in the United States. Advocates argue it could help prevent illegal immigration by making it harder for them to get jobs in America. But Congress never mandated the system, and it remains voluntary in most states.
The study highlights legal changes enacted in 15 states since the end of the Great Recession.
For instance, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter in 2009 issued an executive order requiring all state agencies receiving funds are part of the federal stimulus program and their contractors and subcontractors to use the system. The same year, the legislature in Nebraska required E-Verify for all public employers and contractors.
Even after the jobs market began to recover and the unemployment rate started dropping nationally in 2010, it declined faster in most of the states that adopted E-Verify reforms.
Matthew O’Brien, FAIR’s director of research, said he believes E-Verify serves as a deterrent. Illegal immigrants are more likely to move to states that do not mandate the system, which helps drive the unemployment rate down.