Mandating E-Verify Threatens Delays for Job Seekers

By Peek & Toland on February 8, 2017

As part of President Donald Trump’s proposed crackdown on unlawful immigrants taking U.S. jobs he proposes making the E-Verify system mandatory for new hires.

E-Verify is an online-based system that matches up information from your Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to federal records held by the Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, and Department of State. These records are used to confirm that you are authorized to work in the United States.

Trump's proposed expansion of E-Verify has downsides

An expansion of E-Verify is controversial

The verification system is meant to weed out undocumented immigrants who find work, even though they are not allowed to be employed.

Although this change is seen as a quick fix, many experts believe the extension of E-Verify to all new hires will be extremely costly and will lead to numerous problems and delays.

Issues were highlighted back in 2015 before Trump’s ascendancy. The Cato Institute noted that the Republican-led Congress was already eyeing measures to make all sure all new hires could be checked out by E-Verify.

The authors pulled no punches. They concluded:

“E-Verify is an intrusive labor-market regulation that places the onus of immigration law enforcement on American employers. E-Verify is expensive, and it has a startling degree of inaccuracy.”

The Downside of the E-Verify System

The paper looked at practical problems with the electronic verification system as well as privacy and civil liberties implications.

It is suggested E-Verify has been ineffective in weeding out undocumented immigrants in Arizona where it is widely used.

The analysis by Alex Nowrasteh and Jim Harper suggested the extension would see a huge growth in bureaucracy. They say it would add more than 13.48 man-hours spent by America’s employers in dealing with the complexities of the I-9 form.

Indeed, many American workers would find their new employment would be delayed due to inaccuracies in the system.

The report says the widening of the E-Verify system may also boost the black market in identity documents.

Another concern is it will result in a slippery slope to a national biometric identity card for all citizens and legal residents to assist workplace verification of immigration status.

The American Civil Liberties Union has taken a stance against E-Verify. The ACLU highlighted what it said were 10 big problems.

The ACL claimed a mandatory system creates a new level of intrusive government and oversight of daily life. It branded it a bureaucratic “prove yourself to work” system that hurts ordinary people.

Clearly there are many concerns about compulsory verification that impact businesses if the system is extended. At Peek & Toland , we advise employers who are seeking visas for immigrant workers as well as helping in a range of employment matters. Call us to help with your employment matter at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration

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Immigration Lawyers Express Concern over Changes to E-Verify program

By Peek & Toland on August 15, 2016

Many companies use the E-Verify program to make sure prospective employees are eligible to work in the United States.

However, recent changes proposed to the system including the expansion of E-Verify to allow the reverification of existing workers have concerned lawyers.

E-Verify is an online system administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that compares a wide range of information on an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, as well as information on Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland Security records to confirm employment eligibility.

It’s used by more than 600,000 employers. USCIS boasts about its speed and accuracy. E-Verify is a free and fast online service that can quickly pull millions of government records and produce results in as little as three to five seconds.

In June 2016, USCIS announced a consultation on E-Verify including some of the key changes:

  • An employee may be able to receive emails about his or her case from the system.
  • The employer’s name will be added to email notices from the system to employees.
  • A process for reverification of employee work authorization for employees who have expiring temporary work authorization will be implemented.

The reverification provision has proved to be controversial with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which cited “legal and practical concerns.”

In a letter on June 20, AILA told USCIS it was disappointed that the agency had disagreed with its previous concerns.

Changes to E-Verify are concerning some lawyers

The immigration lawyers warned the expansion of E-Verify to include reverification of existing employees was no “simple revision” and amounted to a change in the mission of a congressionally supervised pilot program. AILA said E-Verify was specifically set up for the electronic verification of newly-hired employees.  It stated:

“The proposed reverification of existing employees exceeds the scope of what Congress authorized and appropriated for the E-Verify program.”

The letter said USCIS had many opportunities to inform Congress of its intent to expand E-Verify over the last few years and to add the reverification feature, but it had failed to obtain authorization for the major revision. They called for the rejection of the change.

Recently, Bloomberg noted many employers are only just starting to use the system. The article quoted a Seattle business owner who found almost 10 percent of his workforce was undocumented when he used the tool.

The prospect of losing workers who are undocumented has led some businesses to support deferred action, President Obama’s flagship immigration reform that has stalled in the courts.

Our experienced Austin immigration attorneys help many businesses with all aspects of immigration issues ranging from E-Verify to obtaining visas. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 for a consultation.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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