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Recent Report Points Out Limitations to E-Verify

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on February 13, 2011

The Migration Policy Institute (“MPI”) just released a Policy Report on the relative strengths, weaknesses and policy proposals associated with the federal E-Verify employment verification program.

While the report concludes that the E-Verify system is still mostly used by public agencies and employers dealing with public contracts, it does note that system use has expanded exponentially in the last decade.

According to the MPI, the E-Verify system gives employers a useful tool for detecting ineligibility to work, but the system is incomplete, vulnerable to identity fraud and still sometimes in error due to human input.

More than 35,000 employers have enrolled in E-Verify in Arizona, which has made use of the system mandatory for all employers, but the bulk of employer utilization elsewhere in the U.S. is occurring in just five other states: Missouri; California; Georgia; Texas and Florida (listed in order of employer enrollments).

The report noted that E-Verify detects the most common types of fake identification, but added that the system can only can confirm the authenticity of a name and social security number and cannot confirm whether that name and number belong to the worker in question.

Furthermore, because of human input and error, E-Verify does not always successfully confirm the eligibility of legitimate U.S. citizens and legal workers. A 2009 survey by the Los Angeles County Human Resource Department found that 2.0 percent of queries resulted in erroneous non-confirmations.

The report concludes that proposals to require the use of E-Verify nationwide are at least premature and possibly unrealistic, given the cost of expanding and correcting flaws in the system. It also questions whether Americans are prepared to accept any alternative method of biometric identification.

If you are an employer and have questions about the use of the E-Verify system, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712. You are also welcome to check out the pertinent section of our Website for further information.