Tabula Rasa: The Attorney General’s Position on E-Verify
Under “General Treasurer Frank Caprio on E-Verify and Immigration,” commenter JoeB asks:
Has Lynch taken a stand on e-verify?
Good question. Where does Rhode Island’s chief law enforcement officer stand on the question of a tool to aid compliance with certain laws?
My quest to answer this question actually began last July. After some research failed to uncover any public stance by Attorney General Patrick Lynch on the question, I left a message for Michael Healey, Director of Public Information for the Attorney General’s office. He returned my call on July 21 and left me a voicemail saying, among other things:
I need to get a dialogue going with the General. I want to hash it out and refine it.
It appears that nothing ever came of the dialogue, if it even took place. On January 21 and then January 28, I left a second and third message for Mr. Healey with the same question: “What is the Attorney General’s position on e-Verify?”
On Thursday, at last, came a voice mail reply. In it, Mr. Healey accepted with genuine regret all blame for both a “lack of timeliness” of response and for the continued lack of an answer to the question itself.
Mr. Healey can accept responsibility for the former. He cannot, even if he wants to, accept it for the latter. The merits of e-verify have been very publicly and sometimes vociferously debated for a year. In that time, the Attorney General never formulated an opinion. If he had, Mr. Healey would have simply called me back, whether six months ago or last week, and relayed it. Clearly, the Attorney General’s spokesperson cannot be held responsible for the studious lack of a stance by his boss on an important law-enforcement issue.
If the Attorney General’s position is eventually “hashed out,” “refined,” and communicated, either to me or through another medium, I will be pleased to share it here. In the meantime, it appears that Rhode Island’s chief law enforcement officer has the time to lend a hand with, in his words to Dan Yorke, “court safety” — that’s basketball, not judicial — but has not found the time over the last year to formulate an opinion as to whether potential employees of either the public or the private sector should be screened for compliance with U.S. immigration law.