Worker verification system has strong support in GOP

A recent article in The Hill, “Immigration bill splits House GOP,” (Nov. 3) doesn’t tell the whole story.

Despite the headline’s suggestion, E-Verify has strong Republican support in Congress. In September, all of the 22 GOP members present on the House Judiciary Committee voted for the Legal Workforce Act, a bill to require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. But this pertinent fact was left out of the article.

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E-Verify has also received overwhelming bipartisan support since its creation as a pilot program in 1996. It was extended in 2002, 2008 and 2010. In 2008, the House passed a stand-alone five-year extension of E-Verify by a vote of 407-2. And in 2009, the Senate passed a permanent E-Verify extension by voice vote.

The American people have consistently supported E-Verify as well. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 82 percent of likely voters think businesses should be required to E-Verify.

To address some of the concerns American growers have with a federal E-Verify requirement, I have sponsored a bill to eliminate the problems with the current temporary agricultural work visa program and establish a more effective system.

But the fact remains that we could open up millions of jobs for unemployed American workers by requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. This Web-based program quickly identifies illegal immigrants working here and protects jobs for legal workers by checking the Social Security numbers of new hires.

Fourteen million Americans are unemployed while 7 million illegal immigrants work here. Jobs should be protected for Americans and legal workers. The Legal Workforce Act is one of the best jobs bills under consideration by Congress.

Washington, DC.

Cutting missile defense costs more than it saves

From retired Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Pinckney

Regardless of how the Pentagon decides to change its strategy, it won’t have the tools to be effective if congressional negotiations break down and the debt-ceiling deal triggers $600 billion in automatic across-the-board cuts to the Defense budget, in addition to the $450 billion in cuts already made (“Pentagon could shift focus to Asia-Pacific,” Oct. 31). This “doomsday” scenario, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, would cut critical equipment and programs like armored vehicles, tactical fighter aircraft, drones and missile defenses.

In the case of programs like missile defense, unilaterally disarming is dangerous at a time when Iran is accelerating its nuclear program and ballistic missile technology is spreading through an increasingly volatile Middle East. While considered fanciful in the 1980s, leaders from all ends of the political spectrum — from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to President Obama — acknowledge the accuracy and reliability of missile defense today as the only physical defense against madmen with nuclear ballistic missile capability. Yet cutting this technology won’t save a great deal of money — the entire missile defense budget is less than a quarter of 1 percent of federal spending.

 The Pentagon estimates that these defense cuts could add an entire percentage point to the unemployment rate, cutting many high-tech, high-wage jobs. Congress should be looking to cut waste in other areas, not endanger our national and economic security by cutting our most essential defenses.

Alexandria, Va.

‘Failsafe’ plan for defense cuts is anything but safe

From retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence and former commanding general of the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and Special Forces Command, Airborne

Cutting another $420 billion from our military might sound like a “failsafe” plan to democrats in Washington (“Democrats are split on whether the supercommittee needs a failsafe plan,” Oct. 29), but anyone who understands defense would call that an “unsafe” plan instead.

Between the cuts made by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the ones required by the summer debt-ceiling agreement, Defense has already taken a trillion-dollar hit. Experts are basically unanimous that further cuts would undermine our national security, forcing deep reductions in troop levels, airpower, research and modernization — things we cannot skimp on after 10 years of constant overseas operations. Even before the latest cuts, investment in new equipment and research was down near 1 percent of GDP — far below what’s needed to restore depleted forces and modernize our forces for future threats like cyber warfare and a nuclear Iran.

 Secretary Leon Panetta says the current cuts will strain our military, but going further would break it. Some might be tempted to believe it’s good politics to ignore this kind of warning, but there’s nothing “failsafe” about doing so.

Farmville, Va

Lawmakers don’t need taxpayer-funded trips

From Virgil Bedwell

How many other governments have their lawmakers and leaders travel as much as ours do? (“Lawmakers, the world beckons,” Nov. 1) NONE! Our lawmakers are taking us for a ride. These out-of-country trips at the taxpayers’ expense are uncalled for. We are paying our lawmakers excellent money to stay home and do the job they were elected to do, not run all over the world at our expense. Think of the millions that would be saved if this practice stopped!

Canton, Ill.