E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). It allows employers to electronically verify immigration status of newly hired employees.
E-Verify is free and voluntary and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers. It is said to be 99.6% accurate.
Business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce and immigration advocacy agencies argue that the system has many errors. If enforced today, E-verify would have a negative impact on thousands of workers and would derail the business sector. The Federal Government has opted to side with such arguments.
We have many immigration issues in this country, but it all boils down to figuring out a sensible way to update the status of those who are already here. We must identify and adjust status of undocumented workers who have made their lives in the U.S. and contribute to its economic engine.
Many businesses, especially those engaged in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and hospitality depend on immigrant labor to sustain themselves and to meet the demands of today’s market. The status of these workers has not been addressed fairly. Shouldn’t we fix the broken immigration system before enforcing a program like e-verify? E-verify would only apply to new hires. What happens to an undocumented employee who is laid off and forced back to the job market?
A comprehensive immigration reform that would give enough time and clarity for both, workers and businesses, must be in place before we could even think about instituting an enforceable system that would protect us from illegal immigration practices and the challenges that come with it.