MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 13, 2013

Rep. touts reform to biz group

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin shared his efforts to reform immigration and curb “Obamacare” with area business leaders Friday.

“You are the backbone of our economy,” Mullins said during a luncheon of the Greater Muskogee Manufacturer’s Alliance. “Seventy-three percent of our economy in Oklahoma is driven by small business.”

The luncheon was held Friday at the River Center at Three Forks Harbor.

One of challenges Mullin said he faced with immigration was his opposition to E-Verify, an Internet-based system said to allow businesses to check eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

He recalled one congressional meeting when he asked how many members used E-Verify. When none answered, Mullin recalled saying, “You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

He said E-Verify is another level of government bureaucracy laid on businesses. He said matching a government-issued photo ID with a Social Security number is more effective. A voluntary system already is in place, he said.

Mullin recalled discussing E-Verify with Sen. John McCain.

“He was shocked to see the amount of paperwork it takes to run a company,” Mullin said.

He recalled McCain saying that E-Verify was getting more flexibility, allowing the government 178 days to return a verification to a business.

“I said, ‘I have to wait six months to have the verification. What you create is a 178-day employee,’” Mullin said.

He said his efforts to confront fellow Congress members on E-Verify was “one example of the opportunity you gave me to be your representative — to be not only an ear, but a voice.”

“We all fight the same fight,” Mullin said. “We are slowly getting people’s attention.”

GMMA member Dick Morris asked Mullin what’s being done to strengthen American borders.

“A kicker is there is not enough money to pay for border patrol,” Mullin said.

He said federal land along both north and south borders creates gaps in enforcement.

“There are pieces of federal land our agents cannot control,” Mullin said. “Unless a law mentions federal land, it is not border security.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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