Immigration Enforcement

More companies use E-Verify immigration database

By SUSAN CARROLL HOUSTON CHRONICLE

June 1, 2009, 4:12AM

What do Continental Airlines, the Houston Ballet, the city of Dallas and Sen. John Cornyn all have in common?

They all use the federal government’s E-Verify program to check if their employees are authorized to work in the U.S. legally.

A Department of Homeland Security database of the more than 118,000 public, private and government employers enrolled in E-Verify as of May 1 shows companies big (Tyson Foods) and small (the Ballard Street Café in Wylie) are signed up for the program.

Enrollment has grown exponentially in recent years, with about 1,000 employers signing up each week for the free Web-based program, according to DHS statistics. More than 6,100 Texas employers have enrolled as of May 1, including at least 60 city, county and state agencies.

The city of Houston and Harris County aren’t among them. Lakewood Church and the Houston Rockets, however, use E-Verify.

“Why not do it?” asked Gerry Boren, the city manager of Gun Barrel City, population about 6,100, which sits on Cedar Creek Lake southeast of Dallas. The city started using the system in May, and so far has verified the work authorization of a police officer and two public works employees, he said.

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