E-Verify is the system touted by USCIS to help stop people working who are not in the US in a legal status. It requires employers to check social security numbers, names, etc. against the social security and USCIS database. If the databases do not recognize someone, they will send out a flag to the employer, who is suppose to notify the employee and give them a specified period of time to reply and fix the record. If they employee fails to act, the employer is required to fire the worker.
While this seems like it would be a great system, the question is does it work? Does it really stop those in the US who are not in a legal immigration status from being able to work? Does it protect those who are able to work? Well, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor (See http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/0607/US-immigration-reform-Why-E-Verify-screenings-while-flawed-will-pass/(page)/2), which quotes testimony from Ms. Emily Tulli of the National Immigration Law Center, the answer would be no. In that testimony, Ms. Tulli cited a 2008 research project, which found that “54 percent of unauthorized workers for whom E-Verify checks were run were erroneously confirmed as being work-authorized.”
In another survey of 376 immigrant workers in Arizona, it was found that more than 100 of them had been fired, apparently after the employer got TNC notices and failed to notify the workers about their opportunity to appeal.
“In fiscal year 2012, approximately 100,000 workers [nationwide] likely received erroneous findings from the system and may have lost their jobs as a result,” Tulli said in her prepared testimony. That number of people who lose their jobs in error could rise as high as 770,000 or more if E-Verify is mandated nationwide, she warned.
According to Department of Homeland Security statistics, E-Verify has a 1.35 percent error rate. While this may not seem like much, it resulted in 221,155 “tentative nonconfirmations,” as the DHS calls them, in 2012 alone.
Hopefully the system is improving and hopefully less people are having issues, but, unfortunately, this is not something USCIS or Congress looks into or tracks. They do not seem to care about these issues and are not actively working on fixing the system, or at least tweaking it to make it fairer and better. I do understand the need for such a system, but until it actually works, mandating the system would be a mistake.
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