By Dhianna Yezzi
E-verification is annoying and time consuming.
In addition, the system has faced a
barrage of criticism over the years for being
flawed in its design and implementation.
It erroneously flags authorized workers,
especially naturalized citizens and it has a
difficult time identifying fraud, such as when
undocumented immigrants use false papers
to get hired.
In addition, the associates that are flagged
are rarely offered any opportunity to correct
the situation. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has
expressed concerns that the photo verification
portion of the E-Verify system could lead
to national IDs.
Even with the criticisms–and our staff was
very vocal with their opinions–my company
and over 400,000 others have voluntarily
chosen to enroll in E-Verify.
Some background: The Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form. It is used by an employer to verify an employee’s identity and to establish that the worker is eligible to accept employment in the United States.
E-Verify is an Internet-based, free program run by the United States government that compares information from an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there is a discrepancy, E-Verify alerts the employer and the employee is allowed to work while he or she resolves the problem. They must contact the appropriate agency to resolve the issue within eight federal government work days from the referral date.
The program is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Social Security Administration.
So, given the criticism and the fact that EVerify is currently voluntary for New York state employers, why would any company elect to add yet another time consuming requirement to the increasing list of required on-boarding documents?
First, state and federal regulations are clearly pointing toward E-Verify being required for all U.S. employers in the near future. Currently, 25 states have laws requiring E-verification and although state Sen. Chuck Schumer has been a vocal proponent of E-Verify, it is only a matter of time until it is rolled out as a federal regulation.
Second, on June 27, the U.S. Senate passed SB 744, a historic, broad, comprehensive immigration law reform package with, by today’s standards, a large majority: 68 votes in favor, including 14 key Republican senators.
In SB 744 is a provision to roll out E-Verify nationally. If this bill passes the House of Representatives, every employer in the U.S. would be required to E-Verify all employees.
Finally, any company with federal contracts over $3,000 is required to utilize E-Verify. Our reason for electing to roll out E-Verify for the 175 associates we place in the Capital District on any given day was two-fold: We have federal contracts and we wanted to be ahead of the curve when this became nationally mandated.
That being said, I would recommend companies take a wait-and-see approach regarding E-Verification. There’s no dipping your foot in the water on this. If you elect to start E-Verifying associates prior to it being mandated, you must E-Verify all associates.
You do have some time before you need to address these issues. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said that his chamber could start voting on the immigration bills in October. But it is my feeling that sooner or later, every company will be required to E-Verify every associate.
Yezzi is owner of Integrated Staffing Corp. in Saratoga Springs.
Photo Courtesy of Integrated Staffing