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NASE Director of Government Affairs Discusses the Self-Employed Perspective on Immigration Reform (Wall Street Journal)

NASE Director of Government Affairs, Katie Vlietstra, discussed the self-employed perspective on immigration reform with the Wall Street Journal.

April 10, 2013 

Poll: Smallest Businesses Support E-Verify
By Sara Murray

Nearly 6 in 10 of America’s smallest businesses believe every employer should have to comply with a system to verify workers’ legal status, a new survey shows.

The prospect of mandatory E-Verify, a federal system to check a worker’s legal status, has prompted a combination of acceptance and concern from businesses. Among small companies, it’s mostly acceptance, according to the National Association for the Self-Employed survey, which will be widely released next week.

Some 59% of those who were self-employed or own a business with fewer than 10 workers said they believe an employment-verification system should be required for any business with full-time or part-time employees.

“I was really surprised about that,” said Katie Vlietstra, director of government relations at NASE. But the broad sentiment, she said, was if “people are going to come to our country to work, we should have a process to verify their status.”

Few of those small companies have experience with the E-Verify system. In the poll of more than 400 NASE members, nearly 91% of employers said they haven’t used E-Verify.
Most employers, 51%, said they would prefer to see an employment-verification system that was accessible online and by phone. They also want it to be quick: 31% said they would be willing to spend 15 minutes or less verifying a worker’s status if it were required by law. Nearly 26% said they wouldn’t be willing to spend more than 5 minutes verifying a worker’s status.

“They don’t want any employment-verification system to become a burden on them or their business,” Ms. Vlietstra said.

Some 53% said an immigration overhaul would be extremely or very important for their business. And they were following the debate: 84% said they were very or somewhat familiar with the immigration proposals being discussed.

Ms. Vlietstra said the employers NASE represents seem more open to an immigration overhaul than they have in the past, but they also want to ensure people in the U.S. illegally end up paying taxes and a fine.

“More often than not, what they really wanted is if people are here living and working then they should be contributing financially through the tax system,” she said.

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