A Response to Frank Sharry

Frank Sharry hasn't gotten his way and is now making his tantrum personal. In his recent 850-word rant, Sharry resorts to name-calling and misrepresentations as he attacks me and others for a pro-enforcement approach to illegal immigration. But Sharry is flailing in all directions and stomping his feet because his amnesty ambitions are threatened by the majority of Americans who support the rule of law and want to protect jobs for legal workers.

Sharry and his organization, America's Voice, claim to "stand with the majority of Americans who support real, comprehensive immigration reform." But contrary to its name, America's Voice does not speak for the majority of Americans. America's Voice has no members and is funded primarily by a few liberal donors. It's basically a special interest group that lobbies for illegal immigrants.

According to a recent poll, two-thirds of Americans actually want to see our immigration laws enforced, not ignored. That's why the American people have defeated amnesty attempts by both this and previous administrations. Whether it was the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform proposal or the recent push for amnesty under the DREAM Act, time and again the American public has rejected calls to reward lawbreakers.

Sharry's philosophy is also threatened by those who support American workers over illegal workers. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration policy, I stand with the American people and oppose the worldview of putting illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of American citizens and legal workers.

Over 23 million Americans are unemployed or can't find full-time work. Yet an estimated seven million illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. work force. We could make jobs available for citizens and legal immigrants if we simply enforced our current immigration laws.

That's why the House Judiciary Committee passed a bipartisan bill to expand E-Verify. This web-based program quickly identifies illegal workers and protects jobs for citizens by checking the Social Security numbers of newly hired employees. This program is free, quick, and easy to use. Persons eligible to work here are immediately confirmed 99.5% of the time. Nearly 320,000 employers already voluntarily use E-Verify and another 3,000 new businesses sign up each week.

With this sort of track record, it's no wonder that the American people have consistently supported E-Verify. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 82% of likely voters think all businesses should be required to use E-Verify. And the breakdown of the poll shows that individuals from all races and political affiliations support its use. In fact, 78% percent of black voters, 72% of other minorities, primarily Hispanics, and 73% of Democrats agreed.

Throwing a tantrum may get attention but it doesn't change the facts. All Sharry managed to accomplish in his tirade is insult the majority of Americans who support immigration enforcement, the rule of law, and putting the interests of American citizens first.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.