More States Require Employers to Use E-Verify
E-Verify is a free Internet-based system that can be used by employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of new hires. The program, formerly known as the Basic Pilot Program, is operated through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in connection with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although the federal government has not made participation in the program mandatory (with the exception of federal employers and contractors), several states have passed their own laws mandating that employers use E-Verify.
Arizona, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and South Carolina require that all employers use E-Verify to check the legal status of workers. The following states require only public or state employers and private employers with state contracts to participate:
The Mississippi State Workforce Agency (SWA) is also required to e-verify applicants before they can be referred to employers. Therefore, MS is now suppressing contact information in job order postings and directing applicants instead to apply in person at a One-Stop office so that they can first be e-verified.
The program has come under scrutiny from anti-discrimination and immigration rights advocates due to inaccurate results that unfairly deprive some legal workers of their jobs. Due to errors in the Social Security database, E-Verify’s current accuracy rate is approximately 94%. Furthermore, opponents claim that employers will use the system as a pretext for discriminating against workers.
Almost half of employers currently using E-Verify do not abide by all of the provisions designed to protect citizens and legal immigrants. For instance, an employer is not allowed to take any adverse action against an employee unless an E-Verify investigation results in a “final non-confirmation.” However, some employers have fired workers who received an initial “tentative non-confirmation” even if that result was later proven inaccurate, such as in the case of Fernando Tinoco of Chicago, IL.
In an interesting departure from the trend to mandate the use of E-Verify, and partly as a result of the Tinoco case, Illinois has passed a law forbidding employers from using the system until the DHS and SSA show that they can resolve 99% of tentative non-confirmation notices within 3 days. The law also provides that local government cannot require employers to use the program as a condition of receiving a government contract or business license, or as a punishment for violating certain immigration or licensing laws. The DHS subsequently sued IL, arguing that the law interferes with their efforts to reduce illegal immigration. The case is still pending.
USADWEB is now a designated E-Verify agent. For more information about this service and how we can assist you as your agent, please call us at 410-580-5414. For more information from USCIS on E-Verify, please click here.
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