Immigration Enforcement

Debunking the “E-Verify Error Rate”

Everyone agrees that illegal immigrants cross our borders because they want to work here. If we can reduce the lure of illegal employment, we can reduce the pressure on our borders.

That’s exactly what E-Verify does. When an E-Verify employer hires a new worker, the employer gets on line and fills out a short electronic form. As soon as the employer hits “send,” the system checks to make sure that the worker’s name matches his Social Security Number. If the worker is not a U.S. citizen, the system also checks to make sure his work authorization is still valid and shows the employer the picture that should be on the DHS-issued identity card. For most workers, verification is instantaneous.

E-Verify is simple, free, and highly effective in preventing illegal work. It works, and maybe that’s what the interests arrayed against E-Verify don’t like. Whatever the reason, opponents of E-Verify have resorted to charges that just don’t hold up. In this series, I debunk the myths.

The opposition to E-Verify often claims that the program has a high error rate. Some critics claim that the error rate is as high as 4% and will lead to millions of Americans losing their jobs by mistake.

To see how wrong this claim is, we need to look more closely at how E-Verify works. We can draw a precise picture of what happens to a thousand applicants who use E-Verify by using data gathered from October 2006 to March 2007 by Westat, an independent reviewer.

1000 E-Verify Queries. 942 (94.2%) were Automatically verified. 5 (0.5%) Resolve mismatch and 53 (5.3%) had Final nonconfirmations.
Of the thousand, 942 are instantly verified. Instant verification of legal workers surely can’t be an error.

Fifty-eight are told that they have to do something more to establish that they are lawfully authorized to work. Usually this means they have to go to Social Security to correct the mismatch in name and number. (Typos and similar problems are cured on line, so legal workers usually have a problem only if they changed their names or citizenship status but failed to tell Social Security of the change.)

So five of the thousand must go to Social Security and straighten out their records. For 90% of them, the process takes less than 2 days. Is that an error rate? If so, it’s ten times lower than our critics claim. And, is it really an error to tell workers that their social security credits aren’t being properly recorded? Sooner or later, the worker will want to collect benefits, and they won’t want to face doubts about who earned the credits. (Of course, straightening out Social Security records isn’t fun, but we’re working to reduce the hassle. Just a few weeks ago, we introduced software changes that will automate some of the correction process, reducing the number of legitimate workers who have to go to Social Security offices from five to two or three per thousand.)

That leaves the 53 who walk away. Is that an error rate? There are certainly people who believe it’s an error to keep illegal workers out of the U.S. workforce. But we don’t. It’s our job to enforce the immigration laws.

And common sense suggests that the walkaways are overwhelmingly likely to be illegal workers. It’s just common sense that a legal worker wouldn’t want to walk away from a job he applied for–and has been offered if he straightens out his records. It’s just common sense that a legal worker wouldn’t walk away from the opportunity to correct Social Security records he now knows are wrong – records that will have to be corrected for him to get benefits. And it’s just common sense that about five percent of E-Verify workers would walk away, since a Pew Foundation expert recently estimated that 4.9% of U.S. jobs are held by illegal workers. It’s hard to see the walkaway rate as an error; in fact, that’s the program working as it should.

Stewart Baker
Assistant Secretary for Policy

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May 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

E-Verify has problems, but most find it valuable

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Chris Matus likes to be ahead of the curve.

So for Matus, president of Elgin-based Rieke Office Interiors, the decision to enroll his company in the federal government’s E-Verify program was not a difficult one.

“Immigration issues are very much up in the air right now,” Matus said. “We wanted to make sure we were prepared for whatever the future might bring in that regard.”

Matus’ company, however, certainly is not alone in logging on.

In Illinois, more than 1,350 employers are registered on the system that uses the Internet to verify whether job applicants legally can work in the U.S., according to a report from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Nationwide, about 64,000 employers use the system, CIS said. In Fiscal Year 2007, more than 3.27 million employment verification queries were made.

Since October, the beginning of the federal fiscal year, however, about 3.17 million inquiries had been made, putting E-Verify on pace to field 5.43 million inquiries this year, an increase of about 60 percent.


May 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Seven States Now Mandate the Use of E-Verify

Across the country, states continue to enact their own employment-related immigration legislation, including legislation requiring certain employers to use E-Verify to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. Currently, seven states have implemented laws requiring certain employers, and state contractors to use E-Verify. The seven states mandating the use of E-Verify are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.

The following is a description of the requirements for the states that have mandated the use of the E-Verify program.


May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

High School District To Check Employee Resident Status

Trustees Approve E-Verify Program

POSTED: 8:48 am PDT May 6, 2008
UPDATED: 9:31 am PDT May 6, 2008

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern High School District has approved a plan about an electronic program that would show if district workers are legal or not. Trustees said it’s part of doing good business. Monday night Kern High School District said yes to the e-verify program. The program would show that workers for vendors and contractors who do business with the district have the legal right to work in the U.S.

E-verify is a free program offered to all business owners by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.


May 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

New Enhancements to the E-Verify System

On May 5, 2008, the E-Verify system will include naturalization data, which will help instantly confirm the citizenship status of naturalized U.S. citizens hired by E-Verify employers.  Naturalized citizens who have not yet updated their records with the Social Security Administration (SSA) are the largest category of work-authorized persons who initially face an SSA mismatch in E-Verify.

Additionally, a naturalized citizen who receives a citizenship mismatch with SSA can call USCIS directly to resolve the issue (in addition to the option of resolving the mismatch in person at any SSA field office.)

For more information about this improvement of E-Verify, please see the link on enhancements at the bottom of this page.

Photo Tool

E-Verify’s new Photo Screening Tool is the beginning of biometric verification within the E-Verify system. This additional feature will be the first step in giving employers the tools they need to detect identity theft in the employment eligibility process.

The Photo Screening Tool feature allows an employer to check the photo on his or her new hire’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) against the 14.8 million images stored in DHS immigration databases.


May 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Sheriff going to Mesa, tells illegals to get out of town

by KTAR Newsroom

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio still isn’t saying when he will take his crime suppression patrols to Mesa.

He says there’s a reason for the delay — he’s giving illegal immigrants a chance to get out of town.

“I’m giving them a chance to pack up and leave, so when I do go in there, there may not be a big problem,” he said.

If an illegal immigrant needs a ride, Arpaio says, “Call 602-876-1000 and we’ll make arrangements. Maybe we’ll even pick them up.”


May 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment