WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 — Jittery American workers were greeted with the news today that unemployment in July reached a four-year high of 5.7 percent and that the U.S. economy shed 51,000 jobs last month on the heels of the loss of 98,000 jobs in May and June. For all of 2008, the U.S. economy has lost 463,000 jobs. Meanwhile in Congress, both houses spent the final days before their month-long summer vacation pushing for admission of hundreds of thousands of additional foreign workers.
The Senate will adjourn today without acting on reauthorization of E-Verify, a highly successful program that allows employers to verify electronically that workers are legally eligible to work in the U.S. E-Verify is set to expire in November, and its reauthorization is being blocked by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who is insisting that the bill include a provision to recapture work- and family-based immigration visas dating back to 1992. A five-year reauthorization of E-Verify passed the House yesterday by a vote of 407-2.
Instead of trying to recapture lost visas from the 1990s, the Senate might want to consider trying to recapture the lost jobs that have left 8.8 million American workers unemployed, commented Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).