Immigration Enforcement

E-Verify ambush

Janice Kephart
Sunday, September 21, 2008


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched an all-out attack on E-Verify, the successful federal program that allows employers to screen out illegal aliens at the beginning of the hiring process. Why?

It has taken more than 20 years, but E-Verify is finally in a form that is helpful to those employers who choose to use it. It’s on the Web, with straightforward access. Error rates are low. The human-resource personnel who use it attest that it is easy to use, cheap and helps straighten out hiring issues up front, before cost and disruption become a grave concern. The most recent labor statistics show about 1 in 8 new hires nationwide is now checked through the system. E-Verify has clear momentum.

E-Verify replaced a paper-based system that employers incessantly moaned about for good reason. Even after Sept. 11, 2001, employers were in a no-win situation with the federal government; they faced an immigration law rightly forbidding the hiring of illegal workers but had to rely on a paper-based system which couldn’t verify the identities or documents of new hires.

Then, with the creation of E-Verify in 2004, the main burden for determining work authorization shifted to the government in a meaningful way, modernizing what was known as the Basic Pilot Program.

E-Verify taps into the Social Security Administration (SSA) database for verification and, for foreign workers, checks with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Photos are available for those presenting immigration cards as their IDs, and this is to be expanded to include passport photos and, hopefully, driver’s license photos as well.

Kinks in the system are continually being fixed at a remarkable pace; 94 percent of hires are now verified instantly, with a mere 1 percent requiring further action – and most of these are new citizens who haven’t had their Social Security information updated. The rest are rejected as not authorized to work. Chilling – and perhaps good proof that E-Verify is doing its job – is that the numbers rejected by E-Verify as not authorized to work closely parallels the estimated percentage of illegal aliens in the work force, about 5 percent.

It is mystifying, then, that the Chamber so vigorously attacks E-Verify, including opposition to a pending rule that federal contractors, paid with taxpayer money, be required to use E-Verify when hiring to help them better abide by the law that requires them not to hire illegal aliens in the first place. Doesn’t the Chamber appreciate a program that’s working to protect them and is fast, efficient and a good value? The Chamber claims E-Verify is full of mistakes and non-matches, yet the numbers don’t back that up.



September 22, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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