Supposing you work for a government agency that has just improved its anti-bank-robbery program.
Could you write a press release about it without using the words "bank" or "robber"? Well, USCIS has pulled off a comparable feat visa-a-vis the E-Verify program, whose sole purpose in life is preventing illegal aliens from getting jobs.
The press release in question, entitled "DHS Unveils Initiatives To Enhance E-Verify," manages to run for more than a page without mentioning the words "illegal alien," "undocumented worker," or even the fundamental purpose of the program.
It is a real accomplishment.
E-Verify is a useful, massive data-base, electronic program which gives employers a chance to compare data on people they have just hired with USCIS and Social Security files. If the worker's data does not jibe with the government files, and if he or she cannot subsequently resolve any problems found, then the employer may fire the worker. The point is to keep illegal aliens from being hired.
What DHS has done is to work out an arrangement with the Department of Justice to zap employers who misuse the E-Verify program, to provide a telephone system for workers whose data does not immediately match the government data, and to train people, in English and Spanish, to identify misuses of the system.
Useful measures, to be sure, but none are designed to make it tougher for illegal aliens to get jobs. Do the measures "enhance" the program or do they simply make it harder to misuse? Not that there is any real evidence that misuse is much of a problem.
The USCIS press release writers manage to get close to the neighborhood of the purpose of the program when they speak of helping "employers across the country maintain a legal workforce," and when they talk of the "Department's efforts to protect critical employment opportunities."
But there are no mentions of enforcing the immigration law, or the crass objective of sorting out illegal workers from legal ones.
In fact, going back to the bank robbery metaphor, the press release is much more concerned with, if you will, preventing false accusations of bank robbery, than preventing the actual robbing of banks.
It's wonderful what one can do with the language.
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