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

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