Re: “Letter to the editor: Stemming the influx of immigrants is first priority” (Feb. 11):

The solution suggested is the same ineffective, generalized concept thrown around, including the overestimated numbers of so-called “illegals” and the 13th-century strategy (ask the Chinese, East Germans and Romans how well walls work).

More positively, the solution to much of the problem was part of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act but was underfunded: It is enforcement of employer penalties for hiring folks not authorized to work here.

My suggested solution is a law requiring all employers to E-Verify potential employees. The system is up and running, but U.S. immigration enforcement personnel have never had the funding to audit employer compliance. Employer penalties have also been relatively minor. Let’s change that. Employers who do not E-Verify all new hires should be given an initial warning for noncompliance, followed by reasonable fines for additional failures.

If an employer hires a non-authorized person (either failing to E-Verify, or hiring anyway), the initial fine should be at least $1,000 for each day that an unauthorized employee is in the workplace. For a second offense, at least $5,000 per employee per day. Third offense, $10,000 and a criminal felony charge against the manager/supervisor who hired an unauthorized employee.

If the cause of violation is that E-Verify is in error, there would be no charge against the employer. Civil libertarians, take note: The nondiscrimination provisions that are in the 1986 law to prevent employers from discriminating against lawfully authorized workers would continue.

This single change would deter 90 percent of adults coming to this country without legal status, due to the loss of economic incentive to come in the first place.

Mike Loewe

Boothbay