February 28, 2017


In Arizona, the mandated use of E-Verify has had mixed results (Octavio Blanco|Feb. 28th, 2017, CNN Money)

Arizona, long considered ground zero in the fight against undocumented immigration, was the first state to mandate that all employers use E-Verify beginning in 2008. Several other states have started requiring the use of the verification system in some manner since then, including Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Like Trump, Arizona's lawmakers hoped that E-Verify would reduce the number of undocumented workers and open up job opportunities for residents legally authorized to work in the state. But, according to one study from researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California, that wasn't exactly the case.

While the number of undocumented workers fell dramatically in the years following the mandate, the number of opportunities that were made available for legal residents didn't materialize at nearly the same rate, said researchers Magnus Lofstrom and Sarah Bohn, who conducted the study for the San Francisco-based think tank.

Lofstrum and Bohn examined E-Verify's impact on Arizona's workforce between 2007 and 2009 and found that the state's undocumented population declined by about 92,000 people, or about 17%, as workers left the state to look for jobs.

Many of the workers who remained, however, were pushed into so-called "informal employment," working as day laborers or independent contractors in fields like construction, lawn care and janitorial work. The self-employment rate for unauthorized, less-skilled men doubled from 8% to 16% between 2007 and 2009, the researchers found.

For employers, it was easier to hire these workers because Arizona does not mandate the use of E-Verify for independent contractors and in many cases they were paid under the table, Lofstrom said. For the workers, however, it likely meant "fewer benefits, lower wages, and potential for worsened working conditions," the researchers wrote.

Lofstrum and Bohn also found that the mandatory use of E-Verify did very little to improve employment opportunities for the workers who were authorized to work in the state. In fact, the employment rate for low-skilled working-age men authorized to work in Arizona was estimated to have fallen from about 70% to 66% between 2007 and 2009, according to the researchers' analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey.

"There just weren't enough legal workers ready, willing and able to take the jobs that unauthorized workers are leaving," Lofstrom told CNNMoney.

Posted by at February 28, 2017 7:15 AM