John Brownlee Supports Unfunded Mandate On Virginia’s Private Businesses (UPDATED)Politics

UPDATE: Cuccinelli responds to Brownlee below.

Today the John Brownlee for Attorney General campaign’s “The Brownlee Report” dictated that Brownlee was leading the fight to curb illegal workers in Virginia.  How’s that?

In response to a question regarding illegal aliens and undocumented workers, John Brownlee said he strongly supports “the use of the U.S. government’s E-Verify system.”  Brownlee supports making the use of E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the Commonwealth, including the state government, in an effort to reduce the number of illegal aliens in Virginia.  E-Verify is a proven and effective resource for employers to verify citizenship / residency status and screen out illegals who are seeking employment.

In a response to the same question, State Senator Ken Cuccinelli said he  opposed requiring private employers to use E-Verify, suggesting the system was too flawed to be reliable.

How do their stances measure up to other states in this fine nation?

Currently, three states – Mississippi, South Carolina and Arizona – require all employers to use the E-Verify system.  Seven more states require state agencies and government contractors to use the system, and two other states (including neighboring North Carolina) require all government agencies to use it.  Legislation requiring the use of E-Verify is under consideration by four other states, and as of July 1, all federal government contractors and subcontractors will be required to E-Verify their newly hired workers.

Nine states agree with Cuccinelli’s assessment as opposed to three following Brownlee’s take.

During a time of economic crisis and increasing burdens on private businesses to pay their bills and put food on the table of their owners and employees, John Brownlee feels the power of government should be to create a greater financial burden on said businesses.  And to what end?

Brownlee added that by implementing E-Verify and reducing the number of illegals coming to Virginia, both businesses and taxpayers will save money and reduce costs.

By increasing the burden of government on businesses and the people you can decrease the burden of people on government.

Isn’t that a little backwards for a Conservative to argue?

Isn’t the more Conservative argument to limit the size of government so it is a less burden on the people?

Does E-Verify reduce the costs by preventing the government from spending thousands upon thousands of dollars busting up small businesses to ensure they are using an electronic surveillance system to track citizens… er, ILLEGAL ALIENS?

Is Brownlee taking the Bloomburg approach on small businesses?

We already know from the AG debate at the advance that Brownlee’s in favor of price controls.

What else does the government get to check?

This isn’t leading the fight against illegal immigration.  It’s leading the fight against small businesses, entrepeneurship and limited government.

Brownlee’s full text available after the cut.

4/28 UPDATE: Ken Cuccinelli responds to Brownlee’s accusations:

For the record – I do not oppose any effort to verify the status of someone’s legal residency. Unlike John Brownlee, I have a proven record in the State Senate opposing illegal immigration.  No where in my comments did I say I opposed E-Verify.  But don’t believe me - long time party activist, VFRW member and party leader Helen Blackwell was there – and this is what she said:

No where in Ken’s comments Saturday did he say he opposed E-Verify. In fact, he recited his record supporting E-Verify in the State Senate.  Ken said that they have not yet been able to get E-Verify out of Committee in the State Senate, and he suggested that an approach he would support would be to have the state government go first, then require private employers to use E-Verify.  Ken said generally that he believes that the government should first impose requirements on itself before imposing those requirements on business.”

Amazingly, John Brownlee’s lack of research has missed an important point.  Working with then Attorney General Bob McDonnell, I actually PASSED legislation REQUIRING that all state government contractors hire only legal residents of the United States and for the first time, giving the Commonwealth the ability to FIRE contractors not in compliance.  As simple and straight forward as that sounds – this was an enormously difficult bill to pass in the Senate. John didn’t mention that in his email.  Another case of false rhetoric versus the actual record.

Cuccinelli’s full response is after Brownlee’s full text.

Brownlee’s Full Text:

BROWNLEE FIGHTS TO CURB ILLEGAL WORKERS IN VIRGINIA

A new, somewhat surprising contrast between the Republican candidates for Attorney General came to light at Saturday’s debate sponsored by the Virginia Federation of Republican Women.

In response to a question regarding illegal aliens and undocumented workers, John Brownlee said he strongly supports “the use of the U.S. government’s E-Verify system.” Brownlee supports making the use of E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the Commonwealth, including the state government, in an effort to reduce the number of illegal aliens in Virginia. E-Verify is a proven and effective resource for employers to verify citizenship / residency status and screen out illegals who are seeking employment.

In a response to the same question, State Senator Ken Cuccinelli said he opposed requiring private employers to use E-Verify, suggesting the system was too flawed to be reliable.

As one conservative analyst put it, “Our political leaders cannot hide behind the ‘[E-Verify] needs further improvement’ mantra forever, because doing so is the functional equivalent of not enforcing the prohi­bition against hiring illegals in the first place.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “Companies can access E-Verify online and compare an employee’s Form I-9 information with over 444 million records in the SSA database, and more than 60 million records in Department of Homeland Security immigration databases. E-Verify is an essential tool for employers committed to maintaining a legal workforce, and the number of registered employers is growing by over 1,000 per week….Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the E-Verify system starting June 30, 2009.”

In recent testimony before Congress, Michael Aytes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director, stated, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes E-Verify is an essential tool for employers committed to maintaining a legal workforce. E-Verify works by addressing illegal immigration from the demand side.”

Currently, three states – Mississippi, South Carolina and Arizona – require all employers to use the E-Verify system. Seven more states require state agencies and government contractors to use the system, and two other states (including neighboring North Carolina) require all government agencies to use it. Legislation requiring the use of E-Verify is under consideration by four other states, and as of July 1, all federal government contractors and subcontractors will be required to E-Verify their newly hired workers.

Brownlee said Virginia should join those states who require use of E-Verify for all employers. He specifically urged legislators to look at the employment verification provisions in “The South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act,” which was signed into law in South Carolina by Governor Mark Sanford in 2008.

“As Attorney General, I will encourage our General Assembly to mandate the use of instant verification methods by our state agencies and all private employers. The mandatory use of such measures by all employers will be a major step forward in Virginia’s fight against illegal immigration.

“As the only candidate for Attorney General who has worked first-hand on the problem of illegal immigration, I know the effect this problem has on our communities and the budgets of our cities and counties. Requiring the use of E-Verify would send a strong message to those who may come here illegally that Virginia takes our immigration laws seriously.”

Brownlee noted studies that estimate as much as four percent of Virginia’s current population are illegal immigrants.

In a recent “webMemo,” Heritage Foundation Policy Analyst Jena Baker McNeill wrote, “E-Verify has been a success. More than 80,000 employers participate in E-Verify, and the system has confirmed the identity of over 5.3 million workers. The program has been a success because it helps employers enforce immigration laws in a cheap and user-friendly fashion.”

Heritage Foundation Senior Analyst Robert Rector penned a lengthy analysis of E-Verify, and concluded, “E-Verify is the most promising, effective, and useful employment verification tool in use today. Congress should reauthorize E-Verify as it currently exists and work to expand its reach and efficacy sig­nificantly in recognition of the fact that the law pro­hibits employers from hiring illegal immigrants and that the objective of E-Verify is to enforce that law….Our political leaders cannot hide behind the ‘it needs further improvement’ mantra forever, because doing so is the functional equivalent of not enforcing the prohi­bition against hiring illegals in the first place.”

In a March 2009 column about fighting illegal immigration, conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly wrote, “E-Verify has been proven to successfully verify employees queried through the system within five seconds. Opponents of this program, to date, have been unable to find a single instance in which legal U.S. citizens have lost their jobs due to an E-Verify error.”

And former Reagan White House Communications Director Patrick J. Buchanan recently wrote, “E-Verify is a smashing success with an accuracy rate of over 99 percent that holds out promise of a day when every employer in America will be able to ensure that every employee is an American or someone authorized to work here….Isn’t this what we all want, what we have all sought — an easy, verifiable, non-intrusive, inexpensive way for businesses to assure that those they hire are in our country legally?”

Brownlee added that by implementing E-Verify and reducing the number of illegals coming to Virginia, both businesses and taxpayers will save money and reduce costs.

Brownlee also applauded the efforts by Republicans in Congress requiring that firms receiving “stimulus bill” monies use E-Verify for all employees on stimulus projects. Efforts to do so were thwarted by liberal Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

“It is absolutely appalling that the Congress will not require the beneficiaries of this new spending to be either citizens or legal residents of this country,” said Brownlee.

Brownlee recognized the efforts of the Republican members of Congress who are fighting for a strengthened, improved E-Verify system. “It is an outrage that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are thwarting efforts to sustain and improve the E-Verify system. I will do whatever I can to support our Congressional Republicans in their efforts to strengthen and continue this critical program.”

Brownlee noted that Democrat Senator Mark Warner voted recently with the Reid / Pelosi liberals to kill an amendment by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to expand and extend the E-Verify program for another five years.

Brownlee said the liberal Democrats’ control of the federal government – and their refusal to embrace solutions like E-Verify that would help the U.S. get control of our borders – means it is absolutely critical that Virginia act to mandate E-Verify use across the Commonwealth.

“As United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, I identified and deported illegal immigrants from Virginia. I also had the great honor, on several occasions, of presenting legal immigrants to a Federal Judge for the purpose of administering the Oath of Citizenship. We do a grave dishonor to those who have come here legally when we fail to enforce our immigration laws. E-Verify is a critical component in that enforcement, and I will urge the General Assembly to mandate its use in Virginia.

“As Virginia’s Attorney General, I will never forget that we are a nation of immigrants; but we must also never forget that we are, first and foremost, a nation of laws.”

Cuccinelli’s full response:

John Brownlee’s Inaccurate Rhectoric
VS.
The Cuccinelli Record

Dear Delegate,

As I have stated numerous times in previous emails – at some point in this campaign, one of my opponents would launch mischaracterizations of my record.  I expected as much.  Given the record of the last year I’m not surprised that such attacks would come from John Brownlee.  John has on more than one occasion taken inaccurate liberties with the truth in mischaracterizing my record.

John is out of bounds in his attack that I am somehow against E-Verify (a program established to ensure illegal aliens don’t get hired). His attack is patently false – and like other attacks, John Brownlee also implies that I’m somehow soft on illegal immigration.

It’s pathetic especially since it’s aimed at me, the one State Senator in Virginia who has been more successful than any other State Senator in getting legislation passed at curbing illegal immigration – but folks – desperate campaigns in desperate situations – well, they do desperate things.  It sure would be nice to run positive, issue oriented campaigns and when you have issue differences, to accurately state them. Unfortunately, John Brownlee isnt doing that.

For the record – I do not oppose any effort to verify the status of someone’s legal residency. Unlike John Brownlee, I have a proven record in the State Senate opposing illegal immigration.  No where in my comments did I say I opposed E-Verify.  But don’t believe me – long time party activist, VFRW member and party leader Helen Blackwell was there – and this is what she said:

“No where in Ken’s comments Saturday did he say he opposed E-Verify.  In fact, he recited his record supporting E-Verify in the State Senate.  Ken said that they have not yet been able to get E-Verify out of Committee in the State Senate, and he suggested that an approach he would support would be to have the state government go first, then require private employers to use E-Verify.  Ken said generally that he believes that the government should first impose requirements on itself before imposing those requirements on business.”

Amazingly, John Brownlee’s lack of research has missed an important point.  Working with then Attorney General Bob McDonnell, I actually PASSED legislation REQUIRING that all state government contractors hire only legal residents of the United States and for the first time, giving the Commonwealth the ability to FIRE contractors not in compliance.  As simple and straight forward as that sounds – this was an enormously difficult bill to pass in the Senate. John didn’t mention that in his email.  Another case of false rhetoric versus the actual record.

Our campaign is moving into an unbelievable level of activity with growing support statewide (hence the attacks).  We are focused on our winning message – a message for conservatives, and a message for all Virginians.  I’m in this race to protect Virginia’s families from the continued oppressive federal government that seeks to rule every aspect of our lives – and our pocket books.  To stop the waste in Washington from trickling down to Richmond. To end the tax and spend – and spend and tax – and to keep Virginia’s working families safe.

To learn more on my record, and the facts about this race, please log on to www.Cuccinelli.com

Sincerely,

Ken Cuccinelli II

  • http://bearingdrift.com Brian Kirwin

    Jeez, do ya have to stretch that far to dug up an issue? E-verify is an unfunded mandate. Well, guess what? If it’s for government contractors, then it’s not an unfunded mandate. It’s totally funded, because you’ll recoup your cost from the government.

    Besides I doubt you’d find many government contractors who are so hardline conservative against government spending anyway.

    Government mandates small businesses to conduct a background check on people exercising a constitutional right. Are you now going to attack a Republican who favors Instant checks?

    This entire race is crawling towards being pathetic. Three candidates who agree on 99.9% of everything screaming about the remaining 0.1%

  • http://jsnotes.com Jason

    Brian – Brownlee and Cuccinelli seem to agree when it comes to government contractors. The contrast is one brought to bear by Brownlee himself, that he feels PRIVATE BUSINESSES should be forced to buy into it as well while Cuccinelli does not. THAT is the unfunded portion of this mandate.

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  • Freddie

    I think this is a good unfunded mandate. It does not cost much and serves a major public good.

  • Freddie

    I think the illegal alien problem is one of the biggest issues in the country. If it is very difficult for an illegal alien to get a job, then many, or most, will voluntarily go home. E-verify is a major step in preventing illegal aliens from getting jobs. This is a low-cost method of reducing the problem.

  • http://TidewaterLiberty.com Britt Howard

    I’m enthusiastically supporting Ken Cuccinelli. I also am wary about saddling small employers with an unfunded mandate and anything that might demand the small business train/hire/consult in order to comply.Some businesses will be better equipped to comply. Dealing with laws and regulation on the level of fire arms dealers or ABC license requirements probably means they have what it takes to handle E-Verify. A mom and pop small business…….. maybe not so much.

    I like the idea. Show that it won’t be too cumbersome on small business and maybe we have something.

    I have to agree with Brian though, this is getting down to splitting hairs. If you want to find difference to highlight, try the many good things that Cuccinelli has already done legislatively. I do think Brownlee would be a better friend to “Big Government” , this post doesn’t demonstrate that effectively. In fact it makes Brownlee look better on the illegal immigration issue.

    Take a look at what Cuccinelli has actually done(not talked about):

    “In 2008, we successfully passed my legislation that requires the Commonwealth of Virginia and contractors doing business with the Commonwealth to check the legal status of all new employees. This law also ensures that those contractors who cheat by hiring illegal aliens can now be terminated as state contractors. ” -Cuccinelli’s web site

    “Virginia taxpayers should not be required to subsidize college tuition for citizens of other countries. I have consistently voted against in-state tuition for illegal aliens. ” – Cuccinelli’s web site

    “Most localities have rules about how many unrelated persons can live in the same house. In 2007, I drafted and passed legislation to allow counties and cities to investigate and punish illegal boarding houses – one of the most common side effects of illegal immigration. ”
    - Cuccinelli’s web site

    “I have also supported legislation to require proof of identity when voting and to provide a means to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls. ”
    - Cuccinelli’s web site

    The fact is, Cuccinelli has actually DONE things to protect the Rule of Law and give meaning to LEGAL immigration. Let’s focus on that.

  • dj

    I would like to know how many illegal immigrants Senator Cuccinelli has actually deported and how many people he has prosecuted for harboring illegals into this country. The answer is ZERO.

    I’ve admired Sen. Cuccinelli for quite some time. But the bottom line is John Brownlee is more qualified. . There’s a huge difference between discussing these issues in the state senate and actually doing the job and seeing that these laws are enforced.

    Brownlee is the ONLY candidate to truly be in the trenches battling illegal immigration in Virginia. These are issues the Attorney General will face on day one and John Brownlee is the ONLY candidate that is ready to do the job on day one. I guess some people have to “split hairs” to somehow legitimize Cuccinelli’s soft stance on this issue.

  • http://tooconservative.com Loudoun Insider

    E-verify is now an unfunded government mandate??? What in the world are we coming to in the GOP? This is a good program to help us combat illegal immigration. And the price control issue? Another red herring. Cuccinelli basically said he wouldn’t enforce price gouging statutes in the event of a disaster. Cuccinelli is way too beholden to the Club For Growth business mavens for his own good. None of that will play well with the electorate.

  • http://www.vaquitamlaw.com Zach Kitts

    Every single person working legally has already submitted to verification–that is what the I-9 form is for when a person starts work. In case any readers have never had a job, on your first day of work, the I-9 is what you fill out along with your tax forms. You then have to show the employer two forms of identification, which the employer photocopies.

    The employer has a duty, by law, to keep records containing this information. So employers have already been required to verify a person’s immigration status, and that has been the law for a long, long, time.

    The only new thing about E-verify is the “E”–employers can electronically verify the information on the I-9 with the government, rather than keep paper copies. If you ask me, it sounds less cumbersome than having to store the paper copies for a number of years.

    What’s really at issue here for me that Cuccinelli, who is against E-verify, sponsored legislation–which is now the law–requiring all parties contracting with the Commonwealth to certify that they do not employ any illegal aliens. More than that, on construction contracts in particular, a main contractor (called a “prime contractor”) has to certify that every single subcontractor hired for the project did not employ any illegal aliens on the project.

    I don’t have a problem with the law requiring contractors to ensure that no illegals are in their employ, and I don’t have a problem one way or the other with e-verify. The problem in my view is that at the same time Cuccinelli is in favor of placing such an burden on business (i.e., certification by every contractor that no illegals are employed on a project by anyone) he is not in favor of legislation that actually makes that goal workable.

    On a practical level, it just goes to show that the guy hasn’t really thought his way through the issue. Its classic Cuccinelli–it really seems like the guy shoots from the hip and flies by the seat of his pants. Thats fine if you are a part-time state Senator with a part-time law practice, but it is not fine if for an Attorney General.

  • http://www.vaquitamlaw.com Zach Kitts

    BTW, if you want an “unfunded mandate” just try checking out Cuccinelli’s law requiring all contractors to certify–for themselves, and for every company they employ on a state contract–that they do not employ any illegals.

    Any lawyer representing large or small business should shudder at that.

  • http://jsnotes.com Jason

    Zach, as Brian already pointed out, government contractors can recoup the expense of E-Verify through the contract fees with the government. Private businesses do not have that luxury.

  • http://TidewaterLiberty.com Britt Howard

    Zach, keep grasping at straws. Contractors are also far better equipped to deal with that madate that they DO get compensated for. Who knows the cost afterwards may not be so bad.

    HOWEVER, now Cuccinelli has responded to the false allegations of Brownlee and stated he is NOT opposed to E-Verify. I’m a little more hesitant in applying it to small businesses but, if it can be done in a non-cumbersome manner, I’ll favor it for small private businesses to.

    Loudoun Insider- good news for you. Cuccinelli shares your opinion. I guess you’ll join fiscal conservatives and support Cuccinelli now?

    DJ, your prosecutor is worthless without good laws. Good laws that Cuccinelli got PASSED with a good deal of personal effort. Go look up the bills. You’ll see Cuccinelli time and again.

    Again, read the update. Brownlee falsely painted Cuccinelli as being opposed to E-Verify. Not only does he not opposed it, he was key on getting legislation passed blocking the hire of illegals aliens.

  • http://www.vaquitamlaw.com Zach Kitts

    Kenney, I am going to follow my bright-line rule for political debates–never, ever, argue with someone that hasn’t the slightest clue what they are talking about, because it might confuse a reader. Anyone who wants to review the posts here can do so and arrive at thier own conclusions about which one of us is clueless.

  • Zach’s Teeny Tiny Equipment

    Should we get a ruler and let you and measure it out against Jason?

  • Amy

    This was a mistake. People are hurting, and they want to see their legislators doing the right thing and trying to help. Rejecting this money will come back to haunt us.

  • PWCN8IV

    E-Verify doesn’t cost the business owner a dime – and it provides results in most cases in 5 seconds. Additionally, it is over 99% accurate!

  • James Turk

    Wikileaks has a couple of documents about John Brownlee.

    http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=John+Brownlee

  • Silvia Mills

    I hope that Ken Cuccinnelli does something about illegals. California is broke because of it. I am bi- lengual and I saw it in a hospital illegals use three names such as Eduardo Martinezz, Eduardo Ramirez,Eduardo Hernandez At the hospital one was asked his name the other illegal tells him in Spanish give her the other name.Therfore they get three benifits each. since they cannot be checked for legal identity.
    They cost us 25 thousand to 30 thousand each year in jails. Free food, free milk. some get free diapers.Free school, free lunches, low income housing benefits .They drive with no license.When they kill someone they go back where they came from and come back next year,with another name.