Concerns over E-Verify

July 19, 2013

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, [email protected]

E-Verify: Still Too Costly for Workers

WASHINGTON —U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today released a new study about the workability of its voluntary E-Verify program, an Internet-based system that checks whether new employees are eligible to be employed in the U.S. The study, which was conducted by the Westat Corporation, shows that the program has improved since the last time it was studied, but that there continue to be significant reasons to be concerned about its reliability and effect on U.S. workers.

For example, the report shows that employers who fail to follow the program’s rules are a significant cause of workers receiving final notices from E-Verify that they are not authorized to work. The employers either do not inform workers of initial warnings that they may not be authorized to work, or of notices that they need to contact the Social Security Administration to clear up possible mistakes or discrepancies. Moreover, a lack of proper monitoring of employers’ compliance with the program’s rules leaves no incentive for them to follow the rules. When employers using E-Verify fail to follow the program’s rules, citizens and employment-authorized workers suffer.

“The shortcomings of the program, which relies on information stored in government databases, are significant. No one should lose a job because of a computer error,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“As the immigration reform debate moves forward with proposals to require all employers in the U.S. to use E-Verify, we will continue to press for a system that has due process protections so that workers can correct their records without losing wages, or worse, their jobs,” Hincapié added.

In testimony before Congress, NILC has shown how E-Verify would cause jobs losses for U.S. citizens and work-authorized immigrants if its use is made mandatory without the program also incorporating new, significant due process and worker protections. Although USCIS should be commended for improving the program’s accuracy, without commonsense immigration reform and strong due process and worker protections in place, mandatory E-Verify will remain problematic.

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