Defense Contractors Could Help Pass Immigration Reform

PHOTO: rallyAlex Wong/Getty Images
Italo Salinas of Danbury, Connecticut, gathers with other immigration activists on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for an All In for Citizenship rally on April 10.

Immigration reform is steamrolling through the Senate, largely because of a deal on border security that wooed a key faction of Republicans to support the massive legislative package.

Lots of people are happy about that, including a bunch of companies that are contracted for border security and immigration enforcement.

One of those is Computer Sciences Corp, a Virginia-based company that makes big bucks from federal contracts. Of all companies working with the feds in the 2011 fiscal year, it netted the ninth most, bringing in nearly $3.6 billion, according to the government trade magazine Washington Technology.

The company's main clients are military outfits like the Navy, Army and the Department of Defense, but it also has an investment in immigration enforcement.

See Also: Senate Advances GOP Border Security Plan

Computer Sciences Corp is one of the companies that manages the federal government's system to check whether or not employees are authorized to work in the country legally.

According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has paid them $111 million since 2007 to help run the system called E-Verify.

The company could soon see a rise in profits in that area. The immigration reform bill in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory for all employers within five years of when the bill is signed into law. Right now, less than 10 percent of employers are enrolled in the program, which is still largely voluntary.

There's already widespread bipartisan support for E-Verify, but the recent deal on border security in the Senate virtually guarantees that if a bill is passed the system will become the law of the land.

The border security deal, meant to win Republican support for the legislation, says that undocumented immigrants won't be able to become legal permanent residents until certain immigration enforcement goals are in place, including mandatory E-Verify.

If immigration reform passes, Computer Sciences Corp could be competing with companies like IBM Corp. and SAIC for the $750 million the bill sets aside to implement the workplace verification system.

The company's stake in immigration reform may impact how the bill could be received in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Computer Sciences Corp has been lobbying on immigration for years, and is a top contributor to dozens of Republicans and Democrats in the House.

The company spent $1.5 million in lobbying in 2012 and E-Verify was one of its areas of focus, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Computer Sciences Corp did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The deal to add more border security to the immigration bill only means there will be more defense-oriented companies that will want to see this legislation pass.

Like Computer Sciences Corp, those companies bring more than money to the House. They also wield influence.