Opinion: E-Verify and 'Self Check' Alone Not Enough to Grapple with Illegal Immigration

Monday, April 18, 2011 - 12:06 PM

The federal government developed a program called E-Verify several years ago, giving employers the option of using an easy way to supposedly find out if an applicant was legally allowed to work in the United States. This is a free program, that these employers can log into online. They punch applicant information in, the system checks the information provided by the applicant against government records and gives you a response as to whether it appears that the applicant is using legal information or not.

The federal government has lacked the will to mandate the use of this program nationwide, but some states are taking the initiative themselves. A few require it under some circumstances, like Colorado with state contractors and Georgia for all public employees and contractors. Arizona, Utah and Mississippi require it for all employers, although some businesses with few employees are exempt. With how easy the process is, it just doesn’t make any sense at all to not require this of all employers, all over the country.

But with how easy the program is to circumvent, even with over two hundred thousand employers using the program, the federal government has been on a hunt to find another way to verify applicants easily, cheaply and more accurately. Stemming from this effort, the federal government is starting to roll out a program that applicants can voluntarily use to verify their legal status.

This so called ‘Self Check’ program, developed in conjunction with a unit of Equifax Inc. (yes, the same Equifax that does credit ratings) seems to be geared toward immigrants who are here legally, to help speed up the process for them. It uses demographic and financial data to make it harder for people to fake who they are when applying for jobs. They’re beginning to roll this, similarly voluntary, program out in Washington D.C., Virginia, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and Mississippi in the next few weeks, with the rest of the country coming in within a year.

But if this works so well, or at least significantly better than E-Verify, why not use the same general system on all workers? Why not require this of all employers, or perhaps all employers with over a handful of workers, all over the country?

Frankly, I don’t think either party wants to push for something that would actually do a better job of finding out if people applying for jobs are doing so illegally. The GOP is pushing for E-Verify to be mandatory, but it is easy to get around. The Democrats don’t even want that.

What we really need is a comprehensive deal that includes something like this, along with a guest worker program and real enforcement for those who still try to work outside of the system. Doing this piecemeal will not solve the immigration and identity theft/fraud issues that this new system is designed to help with.


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Comments [3]

E dog

What I do not understand is..."you" people act like you all belong here and they are the outsiders. Last history lesson I took there was not many people indigenous to this land, it is all immigrants. How about you get everyone to pay taxes and watch the deficit go bye bye. Then again most of "you" people do not even pay taxes anyways. Still waiting to see if a "American" will wash some pots and pans. Doubt they are all to fat and lazy.

Aug. 03 2011 07:11 PM
Johne from Virginia

The problem with E-Verify is that it does not detect illegals using stolen or borrowed identities. Recently, Pei Wei restaurants in Arizona were raided. All of the illegal new hires in the restaurant had passed E-Verify. With Self-Test E-Verify now gives illegals a safe environment in which to test their stolen or borrowed identity to make sure it works. Instead of failing to detect illegals using stolen identities 54% of the time E-Verify will probably fail close to 100% of the time.

Apr. 19 2011 07:31 AM
Mark from St. Martin

Securing the border is a critical component to any comprehensive solution to our illegal immigration problem. Without secure borders we just running around sticking our fingers in the holes of a dike.

The economy is so slow at this point that it is helping reduce illegal immigration...but once it picks up and hiring comes on strong...illegal immigration will jump quickly.

Then our impressive political leaders will decry the situation and do very little about it.

Apr. 19 2011 12:15 AM

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